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First Lesson 300CBi (pics included)

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I had my first lesson with Bristow Academy in Concord, Ca this afternoon. I showed up about noon to meet with Stian and he wasted no time in getting me to 1824J for preflight. He was great about explaining different things to look for while preflighting, but told me he didn't expect me to retain everything the first go around.


Pics can be seen here:




While we were preflighting, I asked him some questions about different helicopters. I explained that there was some strong opinions on forums I read regarding the R22 and the 300. He laughed and said this argument goes back as far as he can remember. Then he told me that obviously Bristow was very keen on the 300c, but that while he had most of his hours in the 300, he also had 50 hours in the R22 and about 25 in the R44. He said "I'll be honest, I love the 300 because its so overbuilt. From the skids to the rotor mast its hulking. And yet it weighs under 1100 pounds empty." He took me up top to show me the rotor mast, and covered differences between the R22 mast and the 300 mast. I could see what he was describing. The mast and blade connectors on the 300 are serious business, and I grabbed a close up pic for those on here that want to see what Im talking about (vs me trying to describe it.)


After preflight, Stian took the door off of my side with a grin. "You're gonna love this. And besides, its warm today." So I spent the flight with no door on my side. After getting down to business and hovering over to the pad, we departed KCCR to the north, and headed over to Byron to practice some maneuvers. At 700 feet, he gave me the controls and I flew the helicopter for most of the remaining flight with the exception of hovers and autos.


I felt really good handling the 300 actually. I was really relaxed and flew with my thumb and finger. The 300 has a real light touch, but doesn't overreact if your a ham handed noob (as I was at times). I focused alot on the relationship between the horizon and the rotor. The physics of how the 300 flies started to make more sense as the flight progressed.


After about 40 minutes, we practiced a couple auto's, and then Stian said "if your reading the forums, they are probably talking about max takeoffs, steep approaches and some other things...let me show them to you real quick so that you know what they're talking about. We'll be working on these in the future." And then he demonstrated some things that were amazing. It is actually shocking what you can do with one of these badboys.


When the flight came to an end, Stian broke the only bad news: He leaves tomorrow for a week of mountain work in Reno with a group of instructors. So it will be a full week before I can really get to this.


But I have some books to read while he's gone (already read the 300cbi POH cover to cover) and I have a RUSH that will easily last the week until he gets back.


Life is bliss. B)

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