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Hover Hints ?


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Hi All,

 

Greeings from the Emerald Isle.

 

I have just commenced my Heli training on the Schweizer (300) and come from a PPL(B)--Ballooning background.

 

My first lesson was yesterday and went well, but I was mentally exhausted after it.

 

I was trying to put in a decent effort in the hour, grab the bull by both horns etc !!!

 

I found the hover quite difficult (whats new eh ?) but was improving with every mistake..does that sound right?

 

I am interested to learn from this forum of any hints and tips re hovering or any other aspect of training for that matter, that might useful to me? I am sure I will develop my own but still, eager to learn from others.

 

Many thanks in advance.

 

This forum is an excellent resource !!!

 

 

Regards,

 

Dauphin_Army

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Make sure that your eyes are looking outside in the distance at not down at your feet. This is a common mistake. Try to minimize your inputs and use pressure on the controls rather than deliberate inputs. Also in the early stages do not try to hover for long periods because, as you found out, it becomes very tiring.

 

Another trick is to find a refrence point, such as an electricity tower, water tower, tree etc and try and keep the aircraft stable with reference to that.

 

It takes time, so don't beat yourself up too much. After a few more hours you will be someway to mastering it. Sometimes you'll have good days and other days it just won't happen. Just when you think you are doing great then your instructor will have you start picking it up and setting it down and so the learning curve continues............................

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Sometimes looking down directly under the helicopter is necessary, so it's good to learn to do that too. If you look in the distance from an offshore helideck, you'll get into trouble. You have to look down at the deck, which is the only thing close and not moving. There is no hard and fast rule that applies in every situation for any helicopter flying. For initial training, Vaqueroaero's advice is certainly sound, but eventually one needs to learn other ways to get things done. That's why most companies require a lot of flying hours - there is no other way to learn. Of course, that is Catch 23.14195, but I know of no way to change it.

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DA,

 

My two cents: Don't spend more than 15 minutes in your first five hours trying to hover. I don't mean 15 minutes a flight, but 15 minutes total. Build up to it. Learn the effects of the controls first, at altitude and slowly take it lower. Most new flight instructors will spend a great deal of time in the first few hours frustrating the student and wasting lots of money on what is one of the harder skills to learn in flying helicopters. I don't know if it's tradition, ignorance or an ego stroke to start with the hover, but in my experience, I intentionally avoid it until the student is ready. I may catch some grief for this idea, but I can tell you this, when I ask a student to hover, they do. Not just in a 50 foot radius, but stationary, taxi, pedal turn, etc., and they ask other students what was so hard about the hover, 'cause they were able to do it first time. Best of luck.

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Well, there are different techniques, by different instructors. My primary instructor took me out the second day, put us into a confined area on the edge of a cliff with mesquite trees all around, and made me hover. We did that until he was satisfied, and then we went to the stagefield. There, lots of students were trying to hover, and going all over the place. I could hover in one place, and I think the rest of my flying was easier because of it. If you can't hover, you can't do a normal approach, and if you can't do a normal approach, you can't fly a helicopter. You may be able to herd it around the sky, but that's not helicopter flying. Like I said, there are lots of techniques for teaching flying, and as long as the end result is good, they're probably mostly all fine.

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Relax.

Be the helicopter. But first, last and always- relax. Tension makes it difficult to make the small corrections that are key to a good hover. If you can't make small easy inputs, you make big ones, and that means big mistakes, which makes you reactive, not proactive, anticipating problems- dynamically divergent, in Aerospatiale talk. Simply put, you're behind the helicopter, trying to fix what happened.

We've all had moments where the hover was a 'rasslin' match, and we were losing. I find that backing off and/or an intentional effort to relax almost always fixes the problem.

Relaxing is easier when you fundamentally understand all that's happening with the aircraft, the forces affecting it, including external forces. Example- anitorque controls yaw, but it's coupled to power, pitch (in the nose up or down sense) and roll. Add a some wind and changing dynamics as you ascend, descend, or whatever, and you really have to understand almost intuitively why things change. That comes with practice- you didn't learn to walk in a day, did you?

Relax.

 

I forgot to add an important factor- small inputs mean small errors to recover from.

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Wally got it pretty much right. You didn't learn to ride a bicycle in a day, but once you learned, it became automatic. You no longer have to think about leaning one way or the other, you just put some pressure on the necessary handlebar without thinking about it. When you drive your car, you don't think about turning the steering wheel, you just move it as necessary. Hovering is the same thing, you make small corrections before big ones are necessary, without thinking about it. This isn't at all intuitive, and takes practice. You'll be working hard, barely able to hover at all, and then SNAP, it will fall into place and you'll find yourself doing it well. Just like the bike, there will be times when you'll still have problems, but they will become rarer as you practice. If we can do it, you can do it. I'm certainly not the most athletic and coordinated human being you will ever see, but I can hover a helicopter. With some practice, anyone can.

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I got to attempt hovering for the first time today. In 22 knot windspeed. haha. I was told I did very well, especially for a first timer. What worked for me was just using the reference point outside. You can see what your bird will do by looking at that before it does it and you can counteract it before it happens. And small movements. thats really hard for me, but its necessary. I couldnt believe how small the adjustmants were. I was hovering today and didnt even realize my instructor had his hands off the controls. Just look outside and barely move the cyclic. Thats all the advice I can give for my small amount of hover time. lol

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Relax.

Be the helicopter. But first, last and always- relax. Tension makes it difficult to make the small corrections that are key to a good hover. If you can't make small easy inputs, you make big ones, and that means big mistakes, which makes you reactive, not proactive, anticipating problems- dynamically divergent, in Aerospatiale talk. Simply put, you're behind the helicopter, trying to fix what happened.

We've all had moments where the hover was a 'rasslin' match, and we were losing. I find that backing off and/or an intentional effort to relax almost always fixes the problem.

Relaxing is easier when you fundamentally understand all that's happening with the aircraft, the forces affecting it, including external forces. Example- anitorque controls yaw, but it's coupled to power, pitch (in the nose up or down sense) and roll. Add a some wind and changing dynamics as you ascend, descend, or whatever, and you really have to understand almost intuitively why things change. That comes with practice- you didn't learn to walk in a day, did you?

Relax.

 

I forgot to add an important factor- small inputs mean small errors to recover from.

 

When I first started trying to hover I was making wild cyclic changes, I was only chasing the helicopter. I noticed I couldn't keep a steady collective setting that was as it pulled power from the rotor and I was bouncing up and down all around. The smaller the cyclic input, the less collective is needed. My hovering last week in a 20 knot wind meant all bets were off. I was hovering in translational about half the time.

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It's actually easier to hover in a stiff wind. I've hovered on offshore platforms with 30 to 40 knot winds, and you don't even need the pedals. The aircraft will weathervane into the wind and all you need to do is hold the power steady. But get on the downwind side, where the wind is blowing almost straight down and gusting zero to 40, and you have to work a little. On a flat surface with a steady wind is about the easiest you can get.

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Guest 13snoopy
Sometimes looking down directly under the helicopter is necessary, so it's good to learn to do that too. If you look in the distance from an offshore helideck, you'll get into trouble. You have to look down at the deck, which is the only thing close and not moving. There is no hard and fast rule that applies in every situation for any helicopter flying. For initial training, Vaqueroaero's advice is certainly sound, but eventually one needs to learn other ways to get things done. That's why most companies require a lot of flying hours - there is no other way to learn. Of course, that is Catch 23.14195, but I know of no way to change it.

Keep your eyes outside as much as possible and don't look directly under the heli when you are just learning to hover!!

Gomer,

I doubt he's doing intial hover training on an offshore helideck.

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