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Started Flight school..have an issue


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So I am a flight student finally. :D And I am having some problems because I am a little on the short side. 5'3" to be exact. To reach to pedals, i had to use a back pillow thing. But that puts the cyclic at an odd position on my lap and makes it uncomfortable to control. My arm is still cramping and i only flew .8 hours today. I cant rest my hand on my leg with the position the cyclic is in and still have control over it. Maybe its just something I am not accustomed to and may get used to over time, but I was just wondering if anyone had some pointers on this.

Other than that though things are amazing! Feeling somewhat overwhelmed with information overload and constantly worried if I am doing well. And its only the second day. The perfectionist in me is coming out. Everything still feels very awkward of course and I am hoping that it won't after too long.

Thats it for now! Thanks to anyone who has any advice for a newbie

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When you start out....everyone sucks at flying. Id suggest some hangar flying.....just sit in it and move around.

 

 

Ditto-you get used to it, also many of the birds have adjustable pedals....just not the R22. The R44, Bell 47, and a bunch of others have pedals that adjust and will help you be more comfortable. Being small and light in a helicopter is not a terrible problem to have....consider the alternative...I'm 6 foot 5 inches, 240 pounds and still fly the R22 around !

 

Heck you can probably solo at idle ! Lots of extra power available which equals safety on a high hot and humid day.

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Congrats on getting started with your training.

 

One of the female pilots I fly with is small, about 5'4''. I don't know how she does it, but her feet aren't on the floor when flying, only on the pedals, I guess she has just gotten used to it. She does have this arm rest that she rigged up to lay her right arm on. Must work, cause she's a darn good pilot. If you would like to talk with her PM me and I'll get you the info.

I think I would give it some time, get a good feel of the helicopter. I think its normal to be tensed up and drained after your first few lessons, you'll have to make yourself relax, but with some time, It'll get easier.

 

Have fun

 

Fly Safe

Clark B)

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Congrats on starting your training. Its a blast isn't it? The Enstrom 280 I fly in has adjustable pedals also. I am always moving them before I fly as I assume a shorter person is flying ahead of me. Don't be a perfectionist with a helicopter. I have always loved machinery and was proud that I could operate just about anything with just a little time at the controls. The helicopter humbled me there. I am at just over 20 hours and I can hover! Approaches came at about 15 hours. I'm still not a pretty flyer but I can pick it up, fly it around, and land without making a pile of scrap metal. Just take your time and let it come as it comes.

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I find doing a primal scream helps me relax. For some strange reason, my instructor gets nervous.:)

 

Believe me, I wanted to give up after 10 minutes of TRYING to hover. It'll come and soon you'll be flying like the birds. Not the turkeys I'm stuck with.:)

 

Have fun.

 

Later

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FlyGirl,

 

Congrats on starting on this wild ride of being a helicopter pilot. No need to worry about things as you're going through many of the same things that a lot of pilots experienced when they first started out. I'm assuming (there's that word I love to hate) that you are flying an R22 because you didn't mention adjustable pedals. As Gomer stated, try wearing shoes or boots with thicker soles to see if that helps with the pedal issue. The issue with your arm is more than likely what Zach mentioned...the dreaded death grip. If you are in a Robbie, it may take you a few flights to find a comfortable position for your arm. Some pilots wear a kneeboard and the rest their forearm on the kneeboard to give them some support for their arm. I think that you will find flying a Robbie more comfortable if you can come up with a position to hold the cyclic to where your arm is resting on your leg. It took me a few hours to get used to the cyclic in the R22 and to find a way to rest my arm on my leg as I was used to flying with a conventional cyclic.

 

You may find learning to fly more enjoyable if you don't worry about perfection as you'll find that learning to fly to be both a blast and blasted all at the same time. Just do your best and don't beat yourself up when things don't go as well as what you like. You are going to find that there are days that you are going to do great and days that the helicopter is going to kick your butt. You'll have an absolutely great day flying and your next will make you feel like you've never flown before. Don't let it get you down as you are experiencing what every pilot did when they learned to fly, a great day followed by a not so great day. Another thing, if you are having a not so great day, don't be afraid to tell your instructor that you've had enough for the day. It's your money and if you are not getting anything out of the flight, then call a knock-it-off and save your pennies for the next flight.

 

One last thing...if you find yourself getting nervous and tight on the controls, then take a deep breath, relax, and wiggle your toes. It's difficult to be all tensed up if you are wiggling your toes.

 

Just my two-cents.

 

Doug

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Hi Flygirl 86, I am about 5'5 1/2 and I have about 10 hours in the helo, at first I had problems with the foot pedals but my instructor told me to use my toes instead of my whole foot, and I don't know if I always use my toes but after so many hours I don't have a problem with reaching the pedals. Also with the cyclic, my instructor kept telling me to rest my hand on my leg and I always kept my hand up more I did not feel right on my leg, well this new instructor I had, who got me hovering, told me what ever works for me, if its on my leg or whereever as long as I feel comfortable, and I can control the cyclic where I have it, but :D I think I need to get some sort of cushion to try resting it on my lap because my hand does get tired. I don't know if this helped you but it was nice knowing there is some more female students out there. Feel free to ask me any questions, I'd love to here from you. :D

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My hand gets tired also, to the point of falling asleep and hurting-espesially in 85T. The other helo has a release button for the hook and I find that I can wrap my finger around that and loosen my grip that way. 85T doesn't allow me to do that and so I have to hold it firmer than normal. Also the cyclic vibrates more and that vibration also contributes to the hand falling asleep. It so totally sucks..totally.

 

As for manuvers, I about botched a confined landing in a clearing both going in and coming out. We cleared the trees by a good two feet.:) I was hard on myself for that. Sometimes good decisions aren't so good after all. And trying to land on a slope? Forget it. It was just a crappy time trying to do that. Mostly because I couldn't keep a stable hover. Still beating myself up over that one too.

 

But then there's tomorrow. Mary's Peak to look forward to. Remember to take the camera.

 

But have fun with the flying. I am-even though I suck.

 

Later.

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Today went a lot better than wednesday. I didnt use the back pillow and could still reach the pedals and all the instruments needed. My arm isn't cramped. I talked to my instructor about that and it was definitely due to my deathgrip before. I realxed today, for a little while. lol. Until he would tell me to do something then I would have a mini freakout trying to remember everything I was supposed to do. I am finding it difficult to pay attention to all the instruments at the same time, which is normal according to my instructor. He already said I was to hard on myself. And he told me the same thing about taking a deep breath and wiggling my toes. It really works. Today was a really good day and I am hoping to have more of those than the bad days. I just love my instructor, which i guess isnt the case all the time. Made some stupid mistakes on my pre-flight check, but after that everything was good. And I am training on the R22. Why couldnt they put adjustable pedals? ArGH. Platform shoes might be required. Anyhow, thanks again for all the tips. I love this site cause everyone is just amazingly helpful. Has anyone heard of people with contact lenses being required to keep glasses with them in an accessible place while flying just in case a lense pops out? I have no idea where that accesible place would be on a Robbie during flight, but my instructor mentioned it when I siad my contact was a little dry. Just curious as to what anyone else has heard?

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FlyGirl86,

 

In many other countries, the regulations require the pilot to have a 'spare' pair of glasses in the cockpit. However, I do not see this same requirement in the USA regulations, Part 67.

 

Glad to hear that you are enjoying the flying more..that things are coming together. During your heli training, be prepared to have your ups and downs ('scuse the pun). If you can enjoy the ups, and ride the downs, it will all go pretty quick.

 

Also, glad to hear that you get something out of this site. Rey and many others put in a lot of effort and they appreciate the feedback.

 

Fly safe,

 

Joker

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My UK CAA JAA Medical certificate under limitations X111 code "say shall wear corrective lenses & Carry spare set of spectacles ".

Quite dificult for contact lenses I would have thought

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In the US, there is no requirement to have an extra set of glasses, and you only have to have any corrective lenses of any kind if they are required on your medical certificate. I can still bluff my way through an eye exam, mostly because it's multiple choice, but I still have reading glasses in my shirt pocket, and a spare pair in my bag. Just in case. Just as I have a spare flashlight and spare batteries in there, and a spare notepad, and some sealed jerky, just in case.

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Excellent! Glad to hear your flight went well.

 

Mini-freakout bad.

 

Take care.

 

Later.

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Hello All,

This message is in response to and complements FlyGirl86's message. I am about 5'5" on a good day. And I can honestly say that my concern with pedal reach, the death grip and the ambigous "keeping your hand on your thigh" are your instructor's keys to helping you relax. For the longest time I had trouble with keeping my hand on my thigh as I was operating the R22. What I did notice was that it has a lot to do with your instructor's technique as well. For me, my instructor is about a 1/2 an inch taller than me and about 5-8lbs heavier. He also is an instructor who keeps a close hand on the control and pedals. What I find is his technique actually made it harder for me to operate the controls somewhat. But, I don't fault him though. Once I became more and more proficient with flying he gave up more of the controls and influence upon them. What it took was for me to fly with "his" instructor. This approach is done by our school to get the new pilot a bit out of your comfort zone. I had flown every single minute of my flight time with the same instructor. I had gotten and almost dependent upon his reactions. When I flew with the other instructor I immediately noticed (in addition to the weight) that he wasn't someone who had his hand lightly on the control or pedals. In fact, for nearly the entire 1.5 hr flight his hands were in his lap and his feet were clearly away from the pedals.

 

My current instructor has shorter arms like me. So, when has his hands on the controls, the natural tendency is to have my side of the cyclic actually higher than normal. We both have the same problem of shorter arms. But, since my ride with the other instructor and my observation and subsequent comments about his hand position and how it made it difficult to keep my hand on my lap - he adjusted his technique.

 

The hand on your lap deal, from what I was informed was another way to help you relax, avoid the death grip and avoid large over corrections. At hovering, this is key. On a final note, just think of all the gas you are saving and weight considerations. In fact, many would argue that the helicopter is truly designed for a smaller and lighter pilot.

 

Best of luck. Relax, enjoy and savor your journey into a very small and selective group.

 

P.S. To all helicopter pilots...help me school others in the obvious truth:

 

"People ride choppers....by pilots fly helicopters!"

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