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Grand Canyon Flight


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Greetings,

I am looking for some advice concerning a x-c flight coming up. I am a low time guy (130 hours), and would like to plan the flight over part of the Grand Canyon in a R22 beta with a co pilot. Just wanted some feedback from the community as to whether it is a good idea? The MAP chart shows with standard conditions full throttle is at about 4500 PA. That's about 23.5" of manifold pressure. Sections of the Grand Canyon are over 6000msl. I know the R22 can fly up to 14,000 DA. That doesn't mean i'm going to pick up some gold on that mtn. top 14k high. But to fly over the Grand Canyon without coming to a hover at 20 inches of manifold pressure, is that something that is pushing the limits.

 

I don't see why i can't do it, as long as i don't go below ETL, we are not over weight, be mindful of LTE, watch out for low rpm as a result of raising the collective with full throttle. Of course the weather is a huge factor. I may be out in left field, please feel free to correct me.

 

I know this is a can of worms but any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Edited by In God We Trust
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Planning for the flight isn't just planning for what you want to happen, but also for those things you don't want to happen. "Can it make it?" is not the same as, "Is it wise?"

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Have to agree with Linc, "can it make it" does not mean it's a good idea. Look at it like this, if you had to make an unscheduled landing along your route would to be able to do so without a problem? I certainly wouldn't take that flight solo; I wouldn't take it unless the CFI next to me had a LOT of experience in high DA, and canyon, ops with a 22.

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Have to agree with Linc, "can it make it" does not mean it's a good idea. Look at it like this, if you had to make an unscheduled landing along your route would to be able to do so without a problem? I certainly wouldn't take that flight solo; I wouldn't take it unless the CFI next to me had a LOT of experience in high DA, and canyon, ops with a 22.

 

Thanks for the advice. Not what i wanted to hear but i needed to hear it, and will reconsider that option.

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If this is a flight you really want to take, consider doing it in a 44. I would still want an experienced CFI next to me, but the 44 might be a better option.

 

It is something i would like to do, bare in mind, i'm not looking to fly down in or through the canyon. Over the canyon is what i have in mind. A 44 is not an option for me at this time.

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If this is a flight you really want to take, consider doing it in a 44. I would still want an experienced CFI next to me, but the 44 might be a better option.

 

Bingo- second this opinion. Also check out all of the special flight rules for Grand Canyon flights on the FAA website.

 

Goldy

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I gonna get heat, I know it.

 

Just a thought of study, but I figure if the OAT is low, say 10, and the altimeter is 30.00, the DA is almost 8000. Even if the OAT is 30, the DA is still only10,000. Factoring in MGW of 1370, you can still hover IGE at 6500 PA, OAT 10. Figuring in that the airfield is probably lower than 6000, it looks doable as long as the airspeed is kept up.

 

Qualifier: This is just a thought and I'm not advocating anybody doing anything at any time. If it were me, I'd get more info and if it looked to be reasonably safe, I might give it a try.

 

Be nice.

 

Later

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What happens if you have to land unexpectedly, say at 7000 feet PA. Or what if the OAT gets higher than 10, it is arizona or nevada after all. The point I was trying to make is that you shouldn't be taking a helicopter that might not even be capable of hovering in some places along the route. Yea, the chances of something going wrong are small, but is that small risk worth it?

 

Could this flight be performed safely? I think so. How about by an inexperienced pilot? Again, probably. Is it a whole buncha risk? YES!

 

In a 22 I would say no, don't take the flight, regardless of what the POH says the a/c can do. If it was a 44, or a 206, or a as350 I would say go for it as long as you are within the capabilities of the aircraft and pilot, with an adequate safety margin. I might even consider it in a 300C, but not the 22, no way, no how.

Edited by PhotoFlyer
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What happens if you have to land unexpectedly, say at 7000 feet PA. Or what if the OAT gets higher than 10, it is arizona or nevada after all. The point I was trying to make is that you shouldn't be taking a helicopter that might not even be capable of hovering in some places along the route. Yea, the chances of something going wrong are small, but is that small risk worth it?

 

Could this flight be performed safely? I think so. How about by an inexperienced pilot? Again, probably. Is it a whole buncha risk? YES!

 

In a 22 I would say no, don't take the flight, regardless of what the POH says the a/c can do. If it was a 44, or a 206, or a as350 I would say go for it as long as you are within the capabilities of the aircraft and pilot, with an adequate safety margin. I might even consider it in a 300C, but not the 22, no way, no how.

 

I'm not one who likes to take unnecessary risk, and this sounds like it qualifies.

Thanks for all the advice!

Edited by In God We Trust
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In God We Trust, I understand you may have made up your mind already, this post is really directed at no one in particular... cough cough Witch cough cough... :)

 

I think this is pretty much the same as how I feel about riding motorcycles. When riding I dress for the crash, not for the ride. Even though in my 200,000+ mile riding career I have never gone down I still dress as though I might. Even when it's 100 degree's outside. So if I feel it's too hot to wear everything I need to survive a wreck I don't go.

 

Same with flying. You must be prepared for everything. If you need to add in the statement as long as I keep the speed up I'll be fine then that is a flight I would never make. That is not smart flying one bit. You must plan for something to happen that would require you to put it down any where along your route. And if you can't even hover how do you plan to do that safely? Every part of that flight should fall within the limits of the aircraft, including all the what ifs you can think of, especially, especially when it's just for pleasure.

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FUSE is 100% correct...

 

Try this in a R-44 if you like, but the R-22 Beta wasn't designed for it...

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The R22 wasn't designed for 90% of the things people use it for.

 

Like I said I don't know much about Robinsons, but what was it designed for?

You guys are very hesitant to to fly it WITHIN it's limitations. Frank

Robinson has also publicly stated it was not designed for training.

Is it like a Harley: If you have to ask, you wouldn't understand?

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Like I said I don't know much about Robinsons, but what was it designed for?

You guys are very hesitant to to fly it WITHIN it's limitations. Frank

Robinson has also publicly stated it was not designed for training.

Is it like a Harley: If you have to ask, you wouldn't understand?

The R22 was designed to be a cheap personal helicopter for people who already know how to fly. It does what it was designed to do pretty well.

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I gotta agree with helonorth, its within limitations and whats the difference between an unscheduled landing in the ditch compared to one in the middle of the desert somewhere else?? Are you all saying you never fly over unhospitable areas becuase it may be uncomfortable to have a problem there?

 

Now-your instructor should be experienced in the environment-as always. The fact that you seem to live somewhere that you may experience high DA / power limited flight then you should be able to fly in it at 130 hours.

 

I assume your learning to be a professional pilot- this flight gives you some pause but you can have an instructor go with you and have the potential to make this a great learning experience. Or you can not take the opportunity and be presented with a similar challenging flight once you make it into that first job and have to decide if you're going to go it alone and hope for the best or explain to your boss why you dont want to ferry his R22 on a flight where you may cross areas where you'd be hard pressed to hover.

 

As a new pilot I think the most valuable week I ever spent training was the one in which the helicopter couldnt hover IGE. Its why we practice all those running takeoffs and landings after all.

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I gotta agree with helonorth, its within limitations and whats the difference between an unscheduled landing in the ditch compared to one in the middle of the desert somewhere else?? Are you all saying you never fly over unhospitable areas becuase it may be uncomfortable to have a problem there?

 

Now-your instructor should be experienced in the environment-as always. The fact that you seem to live somewhere that you may experience high DA / power limited flight then you should be able to fly in it at 130 hours.

 

I assume your learning to be a professional pilot- this flight gives you some pause but you can have an instructor go with you and have the potential to make this a great learning experience. Or you can not take the opportunity and be presented with a similar challenging flight once you make it into that first job and have to decide if you're going to go it alone and hope for the best or explain to your boss why you dont want to ferry his R22 on a flight where you may cross areas where you'd be hard pressed to hover.

 

As a new pilot I think the most valuable week I ever spent training was the one in which the helicopter couldnt hover IGE. Its why we practice all those running takeoffs and landings after all.

 

Unfortunately i do not have an instructor going with me on the flight. I'll have a co-pilot who is a commercial pilot with about 250 hours. It's a x-c flight from Florida to Oregon. It's going to be an awesome learning experience whether i fly over the grand canyon or not. It seems like it can be done but it's not the wisest route to take. Either way it will be an awesome flight!!!

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Please keep one thing in mind, regardless of what route you end up taking...

 

Never fly the helicopter somewhere you don't have an out. Meaning don't end up without room to turn around, or another place to go in the event you cannot reach your intended destination.

 

There are few feelings worse than looking at rocks all around you and not being sure you can clear them. At that altitude, you'll need room to turn, up and down drafts can catch you by surprise, etc.

 

Also, when computing performance numbers, keep in mind that it never hurts to give yourself some margin for error. Just because the book says you can hover at XYZ altitude doesn't mean you have to go out and test it. Take 500 or 1,000 feet off the top number the book gives you.

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Please keep one thing in mind, regardless of what route you end up taking...

 

Never fly the helicopter somewhere you don't have an out. Meaning don't end up without room to turn around, or another place to go in the event you cannot reach your intended destination.

 

There are few feelings worse than looking at rocks all around you and not being sure you can clear them. At that altitude, you'll need room to turn, up and down drafts can catch you by surprise, etc.

 

Also, when computing performance numbers, keep in mind that it never hurts to give yourself some margin for error. Just because the book says you can hover at XYZ altitude doesn't mean you have to go out and test it. Take 500 or 1,000 feet off the top number the book gives you.

 

Well received, i'm not flying the grand canyon route, it may be possible but not wise in my humble opinion.

Thanks for the advice.

 

On the topic of down drafts, what is your experience with down drafts? How have you recognized, avoided, and handled them?

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In God We Trust, I understand you may have made up your mind already, this post is really directed at no one in particular... cough cough Witch cough cough... :)

Aw come on, it was a thought exercise. I asked ya to be nice. I'm taking my internet and goin' home ! :angry:

I think this is pretty much the same as how I feel about riding motorcycles. When riding I dress for the crash, not for the ride. Even though in my 200,000+ mile riding career I have never gone down I still dress as though I might. Even when it's 100 degree's outside. So if I feel it's too hot to wear everything I need to survive a wreck I don't go.

If you want to wear full leathers, fine. If you haven't gone down, fine. Personally, I don't wear full leathers and I haven't gone down in 30 years of riding, sans the time I got ambushed on the way to school and shocked with a cattle prod for a few minutes-nazi bastards.

 

Anyhow, if you want to survive a wreck, go for it. I'll dress how I see fit, and if I get road rash, then so be it.

 

Same with flying. You must be prepared for everything. If you need to add in the statement as long as I keep the speed up I'll be fine then that is a flight I would never make. That is not smart flying one bit. You must plan for something to happen that would require you to put it down any where along your route. And if you can't even hover how do you plan to do that safely? Every part of that flight should fall within the limits of the aircraft, including all the what ifs you can think of, especially, especially when it's just for pleasure.

 

I ask you, how can you be prepared for everything? Are you prepared for a chlorine tanker rupturing in front of your house? Are you prepared for a meteor striking your house? Are you prepared for Santa climbing down your chiminey? Are you prepared for the next terrorist attack at your place of employment? Are you prepared for the next big earthquake, hurricane, or fruitcake?

 

Life, my dear Ray, is not safe. We all take risks. True, we can eleminate or reduce the risks as much as possible, but risks still remain. If you want to reduce risks, do so. I don't see it quite like that.

 

That flight, as I studied it with the info I had, looked to be a good flight. As for the hover, looking at the performance chart, even at max gross and at 40 OAT, the IGE hover is over 7000'. The OGE is still 4600', and running takeoffs and landings would probably work.

 

Now then, with the info given, it looks to be a good flight. If IGWT went alone, those numbers would indicate better performance.

 

If you don't, or wouldn't do that flight, then so be it. I feel that there's no need for beretement because of opinion.

 

Now I'll take my internet and go home.

 

Later

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Definitely a good thought exercise. No need to take your internet home Witch. I don’t think Fuse was berating, just expressing a different, more conservative opinion and one I happen to agree with. That’s the whole point of the forum right? A place for discussion of different ideas and opinions.

I think it’s always best to look at the inherent risk factors and the big picture.

1. Pilot(s): experience, currency, competency, familiarity with the aircraft, environment. IMSAFE

2. Aircraft: airworthiness, equipment, performance and limitations (and as has been pointed out the need to use a cushion) e.g. just because the book says you can hover IGE doesn’t guarantee you will be able to, there is a difference between power required to hover and power required to arrest a descent, etc.

3. Environment: weather, density altitude, pilot familiarity, availability of ATC, flight following, airports and other resources, existence of SFAR 50-2. Incidentally I would be curious to hear from someone other than a tour operator who has experience flying over the canyon as this looks to be one of those purposefully unclear regs.

4. Mission: What’s the purpose of the flight and what if any external pressures are influencing it? This is the place where I like to remind myself that there is likely no flight you will ever conduct in an R-22 that will qualify as being critical. (It’s not like were delivering kidneys here) The same is probably true of most flights and aircraft.

5. Situation: How do all the factors interact to affect the safety of the flight? We might say one question mark here, one there looks like no big deal. The sum effect however could easily equal more than acceptable risk.

HelliBoy makes the very valid point that training in this type of environment can be worthwhile. I would say in the right situation absolutely!

Certainly in this case it looks as though there is more than enough going on to warrant concern. It's true we cannot manage every single risk in flying or in our life nor should we try. It is important to remember if we prefer to have a long shelf-lives as aviators we would be well served to minimize risk and strive to make sound judgment and decisions based on safety a nearly automatic part of our decision making process and certainly avoid risk unecessarily when we can. I'm sure almost all pilots have room for improvement here. IGWT, I commend you in seeking out opinions and information to assist you in making a safe judgment.

As for your question about downdrafts the best I give you is the textbook answer. Beware downwind of ridges and peaks, especially with a wind in excess of 15kts and intersect at 30 degrees or better. From the leeward side give yourself extra altitude (like at least 1000’) because downdrafts can exceed your climb capability. Approach from a 45 degree angle so you can turn away if you need to. Turbulence may also be a concern.

Safe travels,

blave

Edited by blave!
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I have often flown over terrain and in conditions that are well within the Caution and Avoid areas of the Dead Man's Curve in an aircraft that picks up from refuel at MGW mostly every time. I fly where I shouldn't and hover where I ought not to because...well, that's often part of my job. My post is not intended to discourage but to encourage thought about how the planning process is being approached. In this instance, the intent is a cross-country flight to deliver a serviceable helicopter, per the boss' intent. Everything about this flight plan, while flexible to make it enjoyable, should be geared towards that end. Timeline should also be a factor in there, as the Grand Canyon tour may not be the shortest or most convenient route with suitable airports with services. Cross country is a great adventure in and of itself, but you should keep the goal of the flight in mind first, the intent of the boss a close second, and contrast every other option against them. If it doesn't legitimately help meet the goal or the bosses intent, you'd be better off waiting for a different opportunity. If you really want to see the Grand Canyon this trip, build the plan, present it to the boss and get the boss to approve it. You can also have a more-experienced aviator troubleshoot your plan and help to make it better.

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