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180's autos


heli59
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HI GUYS! I JUST WANT TO SHARE WITH YOU ONE OF THE LATEST EXPERIENCE THAT I AS A STUDENT HELICOPTER PILOT JUST HAD THIS WEEKEND. AS I KNOW AS SOME HAD EXPERIENCE THIS IN THE PAST. YES I AM TAKING ABOUT THOSE 180 DEGREES AUTOROTATION.LOWER THE COLLECTIVE, MAINTAIN THE SPEED, SHARP LEFT CYCLIC ( AS IN MY CASE ) AND I AM NOT SURE BUT I THINK THAT WAS 40 FEET DIAMETER SPIRAL TO END UP TO A POINT WHERE YOU JUST PASSED 2 TO 5 SECONDS AGO THOSE WHO HAS EXPERIENCE THIS MANEUVER KNOW WHAT I AM TAKING ABOUT. WITH 37 MORE OR LESS HOURS IN MY LOG BOOK I THINK I'LL BE READY FOR MY CHECK RIDE VERY SOON.

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Your first 180 auto can be quite an experience. Certainly one to scream about...

 

I remember when my instructor demonstrated a 180 for the first time. Let me tell you, the scream was not of joy. In retrospect, I don't think I screamed aloud, but I wanted to.

 

FYI heli59, typically, posting in all CAPS is considered SCREAMING OR YELLING when used in email or internet forums. Not to mention, it is hard to read. When a person reads, the rising and falling of lower case letters helps to quickly discern what letter is being seen, enabling a person to read a word without reading each letter. In fact, the letters dont even need to be in the correct order, as lnog as the frsit and lsat leretts are crorcet, it can be read.

 

We would love to be a part of your flight training experience, but you dont have to yell for us to hear you! ;)

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In a former life as an Army student pilot I did many more 180s than straight-ins, because the 180 lane was on the outside of the stagefield, and we could get in more 180s, probably 2 for every 1 the other students were doing. My instructor said if you can do a 180, you can do a straight-in. He did them without ever touching the controls with his hands, other than rolling off the throttle, and raising collective on the bottom. He took off, flew the pattern, & did the auto with his knees, and could put it on any spot you chose. In the TH-55 it wasn't a big deal. Years later, doing 180s in an AS350D, it was exciting. That thing drops like a rock, and you had better do everything right. I saw very quickly that it isn't a good idea to be flying one of those at 300 feet AGL.

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180's--Good times. Remember, if it doesn't look or feel right, GO AROUND!! People ball up helicopters in 180's all the time because they are idiots and try to save a bad auto. Establish go around criteria before entering the auto and stick to it, if everything doesn't look ok by 200' agl, ROLL ON and GO AROUND!!!! It only takes one screw up to end your life, or worse, your career. <_< Don't mean to scare you, but a little fear is a good thing.

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One of our senior instructors was famous for flying a 360 degree auto from 1000' overhead a target, whipping the Huey around and putting his skid onto a matchbox in the middle of a 100' circle.

 

Astounding to watch, he made it look so easy. Us average joes could barely make it into the circle. :blink:

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200' may be a little high. We would normally start the auto from 300', and at 200' you're not even through the turn. You do need to have an experienced instructor in the left seat, but it's important to be able to do them from 300' if you're going to be flying around at that altitude, and it is often required to be there in commercial operations. If you can't do a 180 from 300', you're going to bend a lot of metal someday.

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I agree with GOMER, a pilot should be able to do a 180 at 300 ft. However, for pre-private instruction, I would not attempt it unless a GOOD CFI, which is rare, is onboard. I think they can be practiced at altitude, for instance, imagine 500'AGL is the deck and enter the auto at 800'AGL. Those Robbies drop fast and it takes alot of skill to pull off a 180 at 300', especially at high DAs. I teach my private level students to fly at least 1000' ALG when they have a tailwind and to always know where they are going in the event of an engine failure. Remember: Altitude = options and options = safety.

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Trim in the turn is key.

 

Until I learned to trim the aircraft in the turn, I always had to rush my autos at the bottom. Once I learned to trim the aircraft in the turn, not just prior to and after, I had plenty of time. It was more like a power-off turn followed by a straight-in auto. Of course, we always did ours at 500' AGL. In a 206, that's relatively a lot of time and once I got into the 58D, I found I needed all the time I could get.

 

That, and trim just helps out every other maneuver, in general.

 

<--got tired of hearing the IP say, "Trim...trim......trim..."

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We had pretty good instructors at Ft Wolters back then, and of course military training is different from civilian. This forum isn't limited to primary training, however, and I've done hundreds of 180 autos in civilian life, during annual recurrent training, most of them from 300 feet. The only exceptions were in the AS350D, in which some check pilots wouldn't do them from down there, using 500' instead, because that thing has the autorotation characteristics of a brick. I've flown with check pilots who did them from 300', though, and a couple of times landing downwind from there, which requires doing it rather precisely. We finally did get the tower to change traffic, but there were a few touchdowns that resulted in greater than zero groundruns. Trim is not important in 180 autos - it is absolutely essential. Being out of trim can result in breathtaking rates of descent in some models, and increased rates in every one of them.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Guess things have changed a lot in 34 years, 180 autos from 300 AGL?

 

I thought we were rather crazy at "Mother Rucker" in the 70's. We did night autos to the stage fields, hovering autos, low level straight in autos from 100 AGL, autos to unimproved LZ's (including 180's) but only from 1000 AGL.

 

In the almost 3 years that I spent as an IP, I can only guess at the number of autos I did, perhaps a couple of thousand.

 

In 3500 hours of flying military helicopters (including 10 months as a maintenance test pilot and a year in a combat environment) not a single in flight emergency!

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