Welcome Guest
HeliTorque
  
User Control Panel

Security Code: : Security Code
Type Security Code Here: :
 
Register Here
Lost Password?

Online Stats:
Visitors: 48
Members: 0
Total: 48

Membership:
New Today: 0
New Yesterday: 0
Registering: 0
Members: 6662
Latest: chrisw

Most Ever Online
Visitors: 447
Members: 10
Total: 457


HeliTorque :: View topic - PPL(H) Diary
Forum FAQ
Forum FAQ
Search
Search
Memberlist
Memberlist
Usergroups
Usergroups
Profile
Profile
Contact Manager
Contact Manager
Log in
Log in
Log in to check your private messages
Log in to check your private messages
HeliTorque Forum Index » Student Pilots & Hour Builders

Post new topic   Reply to topic All times are GMT
PPL(H) Diary Goto page 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6  Next
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
MintedMav
'Torquing Regularly
'Torquing Regularly


Offline
Joined: Aug 24, 2010
Posts: 94
Location: Teddington, SW London, UK



PostPosted: Thu Aug 26, 2010 12:52 pm    Post subject: PPL(H) Diary Reply with quote

Hi All,

Have really enjoyed reading some of the diaries of pilots learning experiences so thought I would do one with a slight twist. I already have a NPPL(A) Microlight licence and am interested to see how much of a headstart (or otherwise) this actually brings to converting onto helis.

Thursday 26th August 2010

So it is nearly a year since I started my fixed wing microlight training and despite now having a nice NPPL(A) licence and use of 9 aircraft for hire at the princely sum of £45 per hour wet plus £35 per month I still have that burning desire to master a helicopter. Itís expensive I know. £12,500 (inc VAT) to get the licence assuming I can do it in 45 hours (big assumption) and then its £225 per hour to hire per hour but there is something magical about helicopters and the challenge of learning to fly them. Plus they can go places microlights are not allowed to go and do things microlights canít do such as hovering, sightseeing over London or landing outside a country hotel.

Iíve done a lot of research on the possibility of taking helicopters through to the point where I could earn a living from them although at this stage that is unlikely. My research suggests that it would take somewhere around 2 years and £80,000 to get to the point where I could start teaching but the initial earnings potential of £25-£35k per annum isnít going to cut it for me right now. As a qualified accountant and Company Director that is way below my current earnings levels and whilst the idea of being paid to buzz around the sky in some of the more exciting helicopters is enticing itís not a realistic option especially given the oversupply of pilots at the moment. Maybe one day when I donít need to rely on that level of income and the market is a bit better.

So my plan for now is simply to get my PPL(H). I can then use helicopters for an hour or two a month to do things and go places that canít be done in a microlight and then use the microlight for the longer tours and sightseeing around the UK at the much cheaper cost per hour.

My first proper lesson is this Sunday 29th August with HeliAir out of Denham although I have had about 3 hours of helicopter experience flights over the last 10 years. I am learning in the R22 understanding the extra risks that involves... low inertia requiring a quick response to autorotate (<1.6 seconds), learning to hover at only 2-3ft off the ground, relatively low power and its very sensitive flight controls.

For this diary I thought it would be interesting to initially outline my thoughts on the training process and my hopes for what I may be able to achieve.

Firstly already holding a NPPL(A) has to be a big advantage over anyone that is starting out on helicopters from scratch. I am used to being in the air, using the radio, using the flight instruments, flying at 60kts down towards the ground for the flare, navigating around the sky at 1-2000 ft AGL and controlling an aircraft in 3 dimensions. Also most of the theoretical knowledge in the syllabus is there including air law, meteorology, human factors, aircraft technical, why things fly and navigation. I think the microlight theory misses out some of the full JAA syllabus but the extra learning canít be that much (can it?).

So the big question... can I do the syllabus in the minimum 45 hours? Well of course I am hoping so. The minimum requirement for a holder of a full PPL(A) is reduced to 39 hours although as I am NPPL I am still required to complete the full 45 hours. It took me 50 hours to get my licence the first time round some of which was due to only learning at weekends and learning over the British winter which meant some long breaks between lessons and the inevitable 2 steps forward 1 step back. My plan this time is to do an intensive week on helicopters to hopefully get the hover cracked and then push on through the rest of the syllabus through the autumn and into early next year. This approach should reduce the amount of learning hours with any luck and get me as close as possible to the minimum.

Learning the hover. I am hoping I have an advantage in that I am used to using the rudder to keep an aircraft straight. I know not to over control and am sensitive to pitch and roll changes. This base level of skill should help reduce the time required (I wonder if I will be looking back and laughing at this in a few weeks!!). I have also extensively read about techniques for teaching and being taught the hover and on my last flight experience in a helicopter last year I had a reasonable stab at keeping the cyclic under control. All that being said I am not coming at this being overly confident having a very healthy respect for the machine and knowing how quickly it can get out of control.

My other concerns are learning the emergency engine out procedures. Again I am used to sourcing a suitable field and effectively flying a pattern in a glide that gets me into that field. In theory selecting a field for a helicopter landing has to be easier as it does not need the roll a plane needs? However my two previous experiences of auto-rotations in my trial flights showed that everything happens really fast. This was before I had learnt to fly a plane so maybe it wonít feel so bad this time around. The first time the instructor flared and landed at zero ground speed which felt very comfortable but the second time the instructor landed with some forward speed which seemed a lot more scarey. Ensuring I can get into auto-rotation on a R22 within the 1.6 seconds is also a concern... that doesnít sound like a lot of time to me!!

Weather for Sunday at this stage is looking promising with a high over the UK, broken clouds and 11 knot winds so fingers crossed.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
James T Lowe
Moderator
Moderator


Offline
Joined: Jul 27, 2004
Posts: 2575
Location: Leicester


uk.gif

PostPosted: Thu Aug 26, 2010 9:05 pm    Post subject: Re: PPL(H) Diary Reply with quote

MintedMav wrote:
Ensuring I can get into auto-rotation on a R22 within the 1.6 seconds is also a concern... that doesnít sound like a lot of time to me!!


Where did you read that? Hope it wasn't in my diary...!

You have 1.1 seconds to REACT to a total power failure in the R22, in normal flight. The prompt that starts the clock ticking, will be an uncommanded yaw. Your instinctive reaction should be to pull the cyclic back to maintain Rotor RPM. You buy another second by reducing airspeed from 90 knots to 80 knots, and so on. So really, you have several seconds to get the lever down, and establish the autorotation... but your reaction needs to be pretty much immediate! More maths available on my safety course write up.
_________________
J.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
MintedMav
'Torquing Regularly
'Torquing Regularly


Offline
Joined: Aug 24, 2010
Posts: 94
Location: Teddington, SW London, UK



PostPosted: Fri Aug 27, 2010 12:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi James,

Maybe some misinformation - i read that on this site http://philip.greenspun.com/flying/robinson-r22

which said the following "After an engine failure, real or simulated, you and the instructor will have 1.6 seconds to lower the collective and enter an autorotation. Any delay beyond 1.6 seconds will be fatal as the rotor speed, once decayed below 80 percent, cannot be recovered"

Thanks for the link to the safety course diary... will have a read Smile
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
MintedMav
'Torquing Regularly
'Torquing Regularly


Offline
Joined: Aug 24, 2010
Posts: 94
Location: Teddington, SW London, UK



PostPosted: Sun Sep 19, 2010 6:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

17th September 2010

Finally I get to start my PPL(H) course with HeliAir out of Denham with a 3pm lesson. Iím introduced to Pete my instructor who immediately comments that I am transferring over from the ďdark sideĒ referring to my fixed wing experience. We go upstairs and initially discuss the previous heli experience I have had with the last a year ago at Sywell which included some straight and level, turns and some hovering where I had made a reasonable job controlling the cyclic (with instructor on the pedals and collective).

Pete said that for this lesson we should just treat it as a refresher to get used to the controls again and to concentrate on looking out of the aircraft to get the correct attitudes rather than worrying about the instruments. Hence in the pre-flight we didnít go through the required engine pressure settings or airspeeds for the cruise or ascent/descent. The plan for the lesson was to take off and head over to Wycombe where we could do some hovering as well. (At Denham after 1pm on Saturday and all of Sunday there is no continued hovering permitted to minimise noise disruption for the locals).

One of the HeliAir engineers pops his head in and asks if Pete can do a 10-15 minute flight check in a R44 that has been in maintenance with an engine misfiring problem. Pete invites me along for the ride and I get the front seat with the engineer sitting in the back. This heli is used for filming shows like Top Gear and so there is only one rear seat as the other rear seat has been removed and replaced with a large amount of filming equipment. Pete talks me through the start up and after some more checks due to a high oil pressure we lift into the hover and then head out over the M25 and my first view of the Denham circuit. On final we auto-rotate down to 50ft before recovering and then hover back to the hangers. Pete is happy with the aircraft and signs it off. Apart from being top fun it was also nice to be able to get used to being in a helicopter again without having to worry about the controls and a free ride in a heli has to be good Smile

We book out and head over to G-OCOV, the R22 that I will be flying. We do a quick walk round but Pete explains he wonít be taking me through the full pre-flight checks today so I can just focus on the flying. Into the aircraft and Iím sitting in the right hand seat which is opposite to the pilots seat in a fixed wing aircraft. Pete talks me through the start-up checks but again he does this quite quickly so we can get flying. He asks me to hold the cyclic as we start the engines and shows me the grip they teach with 2 fingers and the thumb. In the past I have been told to brace my wrist against my right leg but Pete doesnít mention this tip... maybe because he can see me doing it.

I follow through on the controls as we lift off and the requirement for pedal input becomes very obvious as the skids go light. We drift to the right to keep away from another R22 parked on our left and then turn to face the runway. Pete gives me the controls (whilst he is following through) and I get my first effort at the hover. It feels pretty stable and I concentrate on not over controlling. Iíve no idea how much Pete was helping with the hover at this stage but it felt like I was doing most of the work. We radio for takeoff and then push forward on the cyclic to transition to forward flight. At about 40kts translational lift becomes obvious and the heli climbs quickly away. Pete gives me full control and I fly out over the golf course and then along the road to the north west which is the established departure path for Denham. Iím doing a reasonable job levelling off and maintaining level flight so Pete introduces me to the instrument settings required Ė 20Ē pressure and 75kts airspeed. I fly us over to Wycombe and am told to watch the engine pressure levels as I must have been unconsciously pressing down slightly on the collective.

We discuss a couple of differences from fixed wing. Firstly pulling back on the collective whilst also slowing the helicopter does increases altitude where as in a plane you need to increase power to go up... pulling back on the airplane stick simply slows the plane down until it reaches the stall. Iím also told that turns are only done with the collective and not collective with pedals as is required for a coordinated turn in fixed wing. Pete tells me pedals are only required for trim when changing power settings and of course for directional control in the hover.

Once at Wycombe (and after a great view of the Wasps rugby game that is underway) I am shown the descent down to the heli practice area to the North of the runway. Pete takes over just before the hover and turns us away from the sun. There is almost no wind and Pete then invites me to try the hover. He is happy with my flying so far so hands all 3 controls over to me from the off. This is the first time Iíve ever tried with all 3 controls together but I manage to hold a reasonable hover for probably a couple of minutes with only minor issues mainly around over controlling the pedals (strong pedal control has been drilled into me in my fixed wing training). Iíve got the cyclic and collective pretty much there and whilst we arenít staying exactly over one spot we arenít moving too far from that spot either. I experiment with looking close and looking into the distance and its clear the latter works best.

Pete comments that my hover is ďreally good for such low hoursĒ and he takes over the controls to show me how much is required on the pedals compared to what I was doing. He shows me that itís possible to control direction with left pedal only in the hover. He hands back control and I have a go trying to just use left pedal only. Itís better but obviously still needs work. Itís probably been 5 minutes and I am starting to become tense on the controls from the concentration and the hover is not as tight as it was. Pete suggests we change to some hover taxiing. Speed control was my main issue here.. I couldnít get the hang of a nice walking pace tending to go a bit too fast... needs work.

After a couple of minutes of this we head off for a circuit to give me a bit of a rest. Pete talks me through the transition and for some reason this time Iím not pushing the collective forward enough. With some encouragement I get us to translational lift airspeed and we shoot up to the 750ft helicopter circuit height. Planes circuit at 1000ft at Wycombe so as long as I can maintain that height we have adequate separation from the fixed wing community. In the circuit Pete is pushing me for exactness in my positioning and height control and he now asks me to include the instruments in my scan to ensure I maintain 20Ē pressure, 70kts flight speed and 750ft on the altimeter.

Pete talks me through the descent and starts to drill the requirement for carb heat prior to descent. This is not something we have in a microlight so I need to start to concentrate on remembering the need for it. Pete also starts to drill in the power attitude trim (PAT) for entering the descent (The trim here refers to the pedals and not the trim you would find in a fixed wing which removes pressure on the control to allow hands off flying). I find the descent requires very little cyclic (or other control for that matter) and Pete lets me control the flair to bring the aircraft into the hover with a couple of corrective movements on his part with the collective.

We do a bit more hovering and then head off back to Denham. The attitude power trim (APT) on climb is being drilled into me and the requirement to start levelling off 50ft before required altitude. Pete has been making the friction control adjustments and Iím not sure what they were used for... must ask about that on my next lesson. Obviously there is a noticeable change in the cyclic as the change is made but other than that the controls felt the same and Iíve no idea whether there was more or less friction in main flight or why it is done.

On the return journey Pete starts pointing out various landmarks so I can start to navigate around the area. Iíve not flown the plane this close to the Heathrow class A airspace so getting used to the landmarks was useful. I will spend some time on Google maps to get a bit better awareness of the area before my next lesson. I realise I havenít looked at the compass or DI once on this flight so make a mental note to try and include this in my scan at the next lesson. Pete also starts to drum the checks for Ts and Ps and warning lights off.

Before we start the descent Pete asks what the first thing I have to do is. I answer good lookout and then lower collective and am reminded of the requirement for carb heat before all descents. Into the circuit at Denham and Pete talks me through exactly where he wants me to position the heli in particular keeping close to the edge of the lake to ensure a field is in glide reach in the event of engine failure. Back at Denham my hover taxi feels much more in control and my speed control is much better. I fly the aircraft over to the landing point in front of the fuel encouraged with ďdonít over control it nowĒ as I hold the hover and then bring the aircraft down onto the skids. I ask afterwards how much Pete was helping on the controls for the hover taxi, hover and landing and he tells me very little which was good as it felt nicely controlled.

Back up for the debrief and Pete tells me he felt that I have flown very well. He reiterates that my hover was good and that I should expect to have that fully under control with a few more hours. We discuss when I am booked in again... 8 days time for a double slot and I tell him Iíve also got the following Tuesday and Thursday booked both for double slots with my plan to try and get hovering cracked as quickly as possible with some intensive training.

Pete then talks me through (and writes it down for me) the take off, climb, level off, descend and flair profiles reminding me of the required settings and the order of the controls (PAT or APT). S+L P:20Ē A:75kts, To start climb A: 60Kts P:23Ē T: Left Peddle. To level out 50ft before A:75Kts P:20Ē and T: Right peddle. To Descend full carb heat the P:15Ē A:60Kts and T: Right Peddle. To level off again P:20Ē A:75Kts and T:Left Peddle.

We also talk about the issue of not being able to hover sat pm and Sunday at Denham and so I may switch to Wycombe for my weekend training. I will take more advice on that when Iíve got through the next 3 lessons (7 hours).

Overall I am very happy with this first logged hour. Whilst I was hoping hovering would come relatively quickly given a bit of previous exposure and my fixed wing training I wasnít expecting to have done so well with all 3 controls from the off. All the reading Iíve done and internet surfing sites like you tube has probably helped and I am really looking forward to improving the hover over the next few hours.

Total time 1.0 hours
Total Solo time 0.0 hours
Total Instrument time 0.0 hours
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
MintedMav
'Torquing Regularly
'Torquing Regularly


Offline
Joined: Aug 24, 2010
Posts: 94
Location: Teddington, SW London, UK



PostPosted: Mon Sep 27, 2010 11:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

26th September 2010

I am booked in for a double slot at HeliAir from 9-1pm and arrive a little early so take the opportunity to discuss a couple of questions I have had from the Principles of Helicopter Flight book I have been reading with the guy behind the desk who has just got his FI rating. We also discuss the use of friction which was an issue from my previous lesson and so I now know that friction is for use on the ground during start up etc rather than as something useful in flight.

My instructor Ollie then arrives and we head up to the briefing room for the pre-flight discussion. We discuss my previous lesson (in 3kts of wind) and Ollie says it will be considerably more difficult in todays 15kt gusting to 25+. We go through again the PAT/APT order for the climb, level off and descent/level off and I manage to get the order round the wrong way grrrr. Must remember its APT on the way up and PAT on the way down. Ollie also clarifies that carb heat is to be used whenever the pressure is below 18Ē.

We have some time before the fire crews being supplied by Cabair can declare the airfield open so we go through the pre-flighting of the aircraft in detail. There is a lot to go through and it takes about 30 minutes a good chunk of which Iím sure I have now forgotten. After my next lesson I plan to spend some more time with the POH going through all the checks again to ensure I have it all down.

We then enter the aircraft and Ollie takes me through the full start up procedure in detail. Again there is a lot to do and I need to spend some time with the checklist and the aircraft rehearsing this after my next lesson. Iím sure it will come with time.

We take off and immediately head out towards Wycombe where the plan is to spend a lot of time practicing the hover. Ollie hands the controls over to me after the early part of the climb and the wind is affecting the aircraft a lot more than the last lesson. The helicopter in particular seems to be having a rolling movement from left to right. I ask if this is my flying or just standard in this sort of wind and Ollie tells me I need to be a bit more firm with the stick to react to the changes. A few more minutes in and I seem to get the hang of it and the aircraft settles down into a normal S+L flight attitude. We head over to Wycombe approaching from the south alongside R/w 35 to area Echo for some hovering.

Ollie puts the aircraft in the hover for me at about 10ft off the ground. This is much higher than Pete was getting me to hover the previous week (3-4ft) and it takes some getting used to. I am finding I am having to do quite a bit more work on the collective at this height and my flying of the aircraft seems to want to sink back down to last weeks hover height. The wind is gusty and this may have been moving the aircraft vertically more than last week and I start to notice how important combining the cyclic with pedals is Ė pull up and left peddle, lower and right peddle.

My hover is not as good as last weekís although Iím controlling the aircraft for 95% of the time with the occasional ďwobbleĒ that Ollie corrects for me. I still have a tendency to drift slightly forward and to the right which is noticeable after a few minutes hovering. I also notice myself tensing up every now and again and have to force myself to relax on the controls. We spend about 25 minutes in 4 or 5 bouts of hovering so itís been quite an intensive session with no breaks for circuits in between. I can feel Iím doing a lot better towards the end of the session than at the beginning and the wind/rain that had started to come down was having less of an effect on my positioning. Towards the end of this session Ollie is leaving me to correct my own ďwobblesĒ which is good progress. Itís time for a break and we hover over to the HeliAir hanger for a well deserved cup of tea.

I ask how he thought that went and Ollie said that I had done very well and that I would be over critical of my own flying. Ollie pointed out that gusty conditions are very difficult for learning to hover and I would notice a large difference next time I flew on a non gusty day.

After the coffee itís back into the aircraft and Ollie does the start-up for me for speed. We head back to training area echo for another 10 minutes of hovering which is better again than my previous efforts although still with some drift to the right and forwards every now and again despite me consciously trying to use more rear cyclic. Ollie then calls for takeoff permission and I push the stick forward to transition to forward flight. This is much easier than last week and I feel very comfortable accelerating the helicopter up to translational lift for the climb up to 750ft to depart Wycombe. Once we level off I find the heli much easier to fly compared to my earlier efforts and other than some minor fluctuations in speed I keep us nicely S+L all the way to the Denham circuit. In the descent into the circuit I am asked to maintain 80Kts for the descent which is more normal practice when getting around in the heli. For final approach Ollie throws me into the deep end and asks me to establish the descent and bring us into the hover to the left of the runway at Denham. For some reason I canít seem to bleed off the airspeed and hold a constant descent so we end up too high so Ollie has to take over and bring into the hover for me. He hands the controls back over to me for the hover with the wind coming from our right and I struggle a bit with the hover compared to my efforts into wind over at Wycombe so Ollie takes over and brings us over to the landing spot with me following through on the controls and we then go through the shut down procedure in detail with the checklist.

Post flight briefing and Ollie says I have done very well and reiterates how difficult hovering in these conditions are and that I would see a very big difference when I hover in ďnormalĒ conditions again. He points out my tendency still to drift a bit in the hover every now and again which I need to work on. We discuss the final approach and that I need to gradually bleed off the airspeed as the aircraft is brought through the lower parts of the descent so that passengers would not notice much of a difference in aircraft attitude at any point of the descents/transition to the hover and that I should expect to work on circuits and this part in particular at my next lesson as well as some more hovering.

Total time 2.5 hours
Total Solo time 0.0 hours
Total Instrument time 0.0 hours


Last edited by MintedMav on Tue Jan 11, 2011 2:57 pm; edited 2 times in total
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
tombeeston
Starting to 'Torque
Starting to 'Torque


Offline
Joined: Jan 18, 2010
Posts: 41
Location: Duns, Berwickshire



PostPosted: Mon Sep 27, 2010 6:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interesting reading, thanks for posting.
I was told it's "apt to climb" and you "pat down" Smile
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
bom
High Flying 'Torquer
High Flying 'Torquer


Offline
Joined: Feb 22, 2010
Posts: 190
Location: Swansea



PostPosted: Mon Sep 27, 2010 8:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I always say to myself "See PAT to go down", Pat is one of the instructors and the "See" really means "C" to remind myself about carb heat on decent Smile

The fore and right drift is a familiar one, my instructor was forever saying "Aft and Left" for a while Very Happy
_________________
Training for PPL(H), now at 15 hrs - R22
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
MintedMav
'Torquing Regularly
'Torquing Regularly


Offline
Joined: Aug 24, 2010
Posts: 94
Location: Teddington, SW London, UK



PostPosted: Tue Sep 28, 2010 8:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tuesday 28th September 2010

I have a double lesson booked for this morning from 9am so head over to Denham on my motorbike. There is a lot of mist in the air and the cloud base is looking low which doesnít bode too well for anything other than hovering although it is forecast to improve towards midday.

I am introduced to Kim my instructor for the day and we spend about an hour prior to the flying going through a lot of technical information on the hover, the power curve, the flight avoid graph, flapback (and flap-forward) and the take-off and landing. In particular I am told that sideways and backward movement on landing is an absolute no-no but a little bit of forward movement is perfectly acceptable and encouraged in the early stages to get over the ground cushion issue. This will then become a more level landing as I get up to speed.

Kim also talks me through the varieties of R22 I may come across at HeliAir during my training (G-OCOV is an R22 beta II) and also tells me about the semi-automatic carb heat control and the problems this can create. Kim also asks me to try and keep my cyclic movements down to the point where I would think he would not be able to notice the movementsÖ I raise my eyebrows but take note of the challenge. Finally we go through the radio calls at Denham as I am to make all the necessary calls today.

The plan for the first hour is to carry on with the hover and build in take offs and landings with a couple of circuits if my hover is up to speed.

We do a full pre-flight check and Kim reminds me of a few things that I had forgotten from the previous lesson. We then get in and Kim talks me through the start-up procedure including a tip that turning the governor off just being increasing the RPM to 75% avoids the risk of the governor taking over and raising to full RPM before we are ready. There is a point later in the checklist to turn the governor on again so there is no chance of this being missed not to mention there is the governor off warning light on the panel.

I make the radio call ďDenham information, this is helicopter G-Oscar Charlie Oscar Victor, request radio check and airfield information for hovering and circuitsĒ. Denham come back with 06L and QNH of 1017 which I dial into the altimeter (Denham flies on QNH to ensure that the 1000ft limit allowed under class A airspace isnít busted). I reply ďrunway 06 left, QNH 1017, Campion plus one for hovering and circuits, G-OVĒ (Campion is my instructors surname). We finish the checklist and make the call for lift off ďHelicopter G-OV, lifting to taxiĒ

Kim lifts us into the hover and taxis us over to the hover circle on the North side of the field. There is a 4kt variable wind and Denham is using runway 06L today. Kim puts the heli into wind for me and hands me control and I am delighted to find I am able to keep the helicopter in a stable hover and being a bit more forceful on the left and rear drift I keep us in the circle nicely. We do this for a couple of minutes and also make a couple of steady left turns through 360 degrees. Kim is happy that Iíve got that down so radios for permission to use the runway. I fly us over to the end of the tarmac and line us up on the runway in a stable hover. Kim asks me to fly along the centre line asking me to come to a stable hover at the end of every second line. I manage this with the occasional right drift but again Iím more forceful with the left cyclic and get us back on track. Transitioning into the hover seems fine also. Up and down the runway a couple of times (so minor tailwind on way back) and that is all good so we call up for circuits ďHelicopter G-OV, circuit leftĒ

Kim asks me to taxi us over to the end of the grass area to the side of the runway and talks me through the transition to translational lift. I push forward and accelerate us up to 40 before lifting the collective and am reminded of the need to keep accelerating through to 60kts for the climb. Around the circuit levelling out (remember APT) making the downwind call before coming round for final. I set up at 60 (with a tendency to speed up to 70 a bit) and maintain us down to the flare and into the hover which requires a slightly sharper collective input than I would have liked. Kim seems quite happy with this first attempt though and says we will work on that in the next hour.

I fly us back over to the hover circle where I am now going to do my first landing. I hold a steady hover and lower us down gradually remembering the ďno sideways or backwardsĒ comments from earlier and employ a small amount of forward motion to get me touchdown. The grass cushions this nicely and itís a pretty good landing for my first effort and Kim seems happy with it. He talks me through the take-off and I get us light on the skids before slightly abruptly getting us into the air. We are up and other than going with the heli forward a bit are in a steady hover. We go to the tarmac runway so we can hone this technique a bit more without the risk of getting the skids caught in the grass. Kim shows me the skill of getting the heli light on the skids and then being able to gently turn the heli and move it very gradually forward and left/right without lifting off followed by a gradual lift into the air where it becomes clear that the lift-off is from a left skid low attitude. He puts us back down and itís my go. I get us light and manage to do a bit of movement with the nose and minor movements with the cyclic before being encouraged to very slowly lift to the hover. We go up and itís a far more stable take-off than my previous effort. Kim tells me that itís hard to go wrong using this technique and itís clearly a lot more controlled. We then do a couple more take offs and landings on the tarmac which go well.

At this stage the hour is up and I hover us over to HeliAir hanger before putting us down. Itís probably my worst landing of the hour with my hover a bit less steady prior to touch down than before which is annoying but its safe enough.

We grab a coffee and debrief. Kim is happy with everything so far and so the plan for the next hour is to try some sideways and backwards hovering, spot turns (around the mast and around the tail), some more circuits, some steeper approaches and some more take offs and landings. Kim reminds me of flap back and explains what I should expect in that regard for the sideways and backwards hovering. We finish our coffee and its back out to the aircraft.

After a quick walk around where Kim points out the few key things to check (Fuel, oil levels, blade condition) we get in and go through the start up without the checklist this time so that I can start to commit it to memory but also so that I understand all the logic behind each and every piece of the checklist rather than just running through it without thinking.

I make the radio calls and Kim invites me to lift us into the hover and taxi over to the hover circle. First task is to spot turn about the mast to the left which I do a little bit quickly and my attitude control was a little bit less than desired. He shows me and my second effort is better. Iím then asked to go round to the right and I immediately overdo it a bit as the heli spins round that way so easily. Kim takes control and turns the governor off and shows me the change in engine and rotor rpm to the left and then to the right and also explains that we always turn to the left unless there is a very good reason to turn to the right so that we can always get back to the right if we lose left peddle capability. The other way round you can run out of left peddle in some circumstances. I do another couple of turns to the right and am more careful with the amount of peddle this time which keeps the heli under control nicely.

We then radio for permission to use the runway and I take us over to the end for some sideways hovering practice. Kim demonstrates the manoeuvre one way and then back again and then itís my go. Now I always thought that hovering over a single spot was going to be the most difficult thing to learn in a heli but trying to go sideways along a runway centreline is far more difficult. I am finding it hard to get my eye sweep in the right place and tend to look forwards too much rather than mixing this to the side with the result that I move forwards (to the edge of the runway). The wind hitting the fuselage and trying to weather cock us is also putting more requirement on my peddles and the nose is moving about a bit more than I would like. Iím grateful when I can put us into a ďnormalĒ hover before trying to go to the left back along the runway downwind. This seems a bit easier mainly because I am looking more out of the side window to get a better bearing but also because Kim is asking me to be firmer on my rear cyclic to ďcontrol the aircraft rather than letting it control youĒ. Going sideways I notice that my cyclic control isnít quite as good as it was before and Iím having to move it more than I was before and occasionally have a wobble that I need to correct by coming back to a stable hover before trying sideways again.

One more trip up and down the runway sideways and itís a bit better this time although still far from perfect but Kim now wants me to try some backwards hovering. He shows me the attitude and speed required and I find this easier than trying to go sideways. I tended to want to lift a bit higher over the ground (subconsciously avoiding tail boom strike I guess) but I can keep us on the centreline backwards with a reasonable level of control.

We head back to the hover circle to put that all together with a turn around the tail rather than pivoting around the mast. I donít find this too difficult and keep us under control with the tail inside the circle as we head round the right of the circle.

To finish the lesson we do 4 circuits practicing in particular different approach speeds and angles. Firstly the longer smoother 60kt approach into the hover but also a couple of steeper approaches at 35-40kts. Kim is hammering home the need to come to the stable hover from the descent at 10ft+ rather than at a level that could then be landed. 30kts is the level I shouldnít go below to keep well away from any vortex ring issues on descent. Kim is happy with my level of control both in descent and coming into the hover and asks me about my medical and exam status. Obviously Iíve done nothing so far as thought I had to have 20 hours before being allowed to go solo as well as not wanting to start the exams too soon. Kim tells me that I need to get the medical organised sooner rather than later and that it wonít be that long before Iím ready to go solo. Apparently I donít need air law passed to go solo which is good as the latest book is not in stock at HeliAir at the moment and I donít want to prepare from an older copy. There are still a number of things that need to be covered prior to any soloing (and Iím in no hurry to go solo for the obvious self-preservation reasons) not least auto rotations but itís an exciting thought none the less.

To finish the lesson we go back to the hover circle and Kim asks me to take and off land four times from each quarter of the circle. The downwind landing is a bit more wobbly than the others but they are all under control and Iím quite happy with them. I taxi us back to the pumps and go to make the landing and am a bit wobbly to the side just before touch down. I announce Iím not happy with it and Kim quickly asks me to lift back to a stable hover and reposition back a little before making a more controlled attempt which I manage to do. Why is it the end of the lesson landing is the worst of the lot each time!!! (Iíve worked out that itís probably due to landing near buildings which is forcing my eyes to look down at the landing spot rather than forward into the distance making attitude assessment more difficult, will ask for tips on that at my next lesson)

During the debrief we discuss the medical and my plan to do the class 1 medical just in case I want to take things further at a later stage. I need to take a day off and get myself down to Gatwick for this. We also discuss the exams and Kim is concerned I need to get cracking on this or they will start to hold me back. I say that I was waiting as thought there was a 1 year validity of exam to completion of the course. However this is incorrect and in fact I have 18 months to pass all the exams and they are then valid for a further 2 years from the last exam being completed to application to the CAA so that is all fine.

Next lesson as long as we have a high enough cloud base I need to cover auto-rotations and engine out procedures as well as cover the earlier lesson ďeffect of controlsĒ which had been skipped. Kim also says I could get cracking on getting the 5 hours instrument time out of the way if the weather is suitable.

Total Hours 4.5 hours
Total Solo 0.0 hours
Total Instrument 0.0 hours.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
MintedMav
'Torquing Regularly
'Torquing Regularly


Offline
Joined: Aug 24, 2010
Posts: 94
Location: Teddington, SW London, UK



PostPosted: Thu Sep 30, 2010 3:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

30th September 2010

Another Double lesson booked for today and I am introduced to Tony my instructor for the day. He asks what I got up to on the previous lesson and responded ďpretty much everything thenĒ. I say that Kim suggested I would need to cover auto-rotations at some point soon but Tony is nervous of teaching that to someone with just 4.5 hours so suggests we do some more focused circuits with some steeper approaches.

After the walk round, refuelling and starting the helicopter I take off and hover taxi us over the field. We do a couple of grass take offs and landings and then set off for the first circuit. I donít push through flap back particularly cleanly and so Tony shows me just how aggressive flap back can be if you arenít efficient with the forward cyclic. We go back round and do a couple more accelerations so that I can cleanly accelerate the heli to take off speed through flap back.

Round the circuit and I do the normal gentle descent path using most of the airfield before getting to the hover. Tony is not surprised with this given my fixed wing experience although to be fair Pete and Ollie had both been encouraging this gentle approach pattern in my earlier lessons. Thatís what you get with a different instructor each time I guess.

Tony wants me to do what he calls a normal heli approach which is a steeper approach into the first part of the airfield using a lot more down collective, maintaining 60kts and then using a much stronger flair at the end. As I flair I find that Iím looking down too much so that when I then bring the collective up the heliís nose is tending to yaw right and Iím also not holding the cyclic left enough so there is a bit of right drift.

Tony whizzes us back round to the start of the field at 400ft and shows me what I need to be doing with the more aggressive flair and the left cyclic/left peddle required during the flair recovery. He takes us up and I have a couple of goes to get the hang of it.

We head off to Wycombe as G-OCOV is in its last hour before its 100 hour maintenance which is being done at Wycombe. On the way over Tony demonstrates an autorotation into a field. First he sets a descent path at 1000ft per minute, 60kts and engine RPM normal before then winding off the RPM, immediately lowering collective whilst maintaining the 60Kt airspeed. The rate of descent increased but the attitude of the aircraft was maintained. We recover at 100ft above the field we have been aiming for and climb back up to 1500ft.

There is quite a bit of cloud around so Tony starts to talk to me about the dangers of entering cloud. He asks me to close my eyes and talk him through what I think the heli is doing which clearly demonstrates that there is no way of knowing from feel alone whether you are still turning one way or another or are back to straight and level and also that itís hard to know if you are climbing or descending or just slowing down or accelerating.

We approach into Wycombe and Tony asks me to bring us into the hover approaching over some trees with an aiming point not far into the airfield using the skills we were practicing earlier and I get us in and into the hover with relatively little distance horizontally covered (maybe 200 yards). We taxi back over to HeliAir and I bring us down onto the concrete apron for shutdown.

We get a lift back to Denham by road and immediately check out G-BLME another R22. We pull her out of the hanger and I start her up and am invited to bring her into the hover. The centre of gravity on BLME is further forward than on OCOV and I am caught out a bit by how much rear cyclic is needed as we lift into the hover and we wobble a little as I bring it back under full control. The controls do feel a bit different and if anything a little bit more twitchy than OCOV.

We taxi onto the grass and Tony asks me to land so we can practice some more take offs in this aircraft. He explains that I should be ready for the extra rear cyclic needed but only respond when the aircraft needs it and not to try and guess how much is going to be needed before the heli gets light on the skids. I get us light and do a much more controlled lift to the hover this time before lowering the collective to bring us into the landing. Again its clear the aircraft is more twitchy than OCOV and I notice a little bit more movement just before touchdown than I would have liked and Tony shows me a couple of landings with smooth use of lowering collective and committing to the landing from c 3ft so itís one smooth operation rather than lowering a bit, trying to get steady, lowering a bit more, steadying again etc. I try a couple of landings and they are getting smoother.

Tony now wants to do some fine tuning on my peddle work. He shows me that people tend to try and push the peddles with whole feet movements and that by wiggling your toes forward or back but keeping your foot still does put in some peddle movement which is enough for some fine tuning during flying. To show how precise this can be I am asked to hover taxi slowly downwind and use peddle inputs only by using my toes which I do reasonably well.

We then look to do some spot turns to the left and right again using just toe movement although in places (due to weather cocking) this isnít enough for maintaining a steady turn and bigger peddle inputs with whole foot movement are required.

We then do some hovering with my right foot off the peddles so I can work on fine tuning just my left foot and Iím asked to yaw us to the left, then the right and back and forth using small peddle inputs with my left toes only which I manage with moderate levels of success probably not helped by the fact Iím still getting used to hovering this more twitchy aircraft so maintaining a point over the ground isnít as exact as I had managed in OCOV.

We do 2 more circuits to finish the lesson and I then hover taxi us to the HeliAir pumps and bring us down for the shutdown.

Overall I was pleased with the lesson. Flying a different aircraft was very beneficial to see the differences in inputs required and not get complacent with ďknowingĒ how the aircraft is going to react. I am getting the hang of the steeper approach (a normal heli approach as Tony describes it) with the more aggressive flare at the end and the level of control needed during this flair from cyclic, peddles and collective and they are certainly a lot of fun to do 

Next lesson is Sunday 10th October with Ollie out of Wycombe so I have a chance to let this all sink in and also to get cracking on some more study. I have been through the Wagtendonk ďprinciples of helicopter flightĒ book once as an initial read and it all made sense but I now need to go through it and take some detailed notes so I can be sure I have it all fully understood enough to pass the exams. I skipped the questions at the end of each chapter on my first read through so will go through and answer all of these this time through. Iíve also booked in for my class 1 medical down at Gatwick for Monday 11th October and plan on getting Human Performance and Limitations up to speed as well. Unfortunately Air Law is still out of print so I canít get working on that just yet as I donít want to work from my older out of date text.

Total Hours 6.3 hours
Total Solo 0.0 hours
Total Instrument 0.0 hours.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
MintedMav
'Torquing Regularly
'Torquing Regularly


Offline
Joined: Aug 24, 2010
Posts: 94
Location: Teddington, SW London, UK



PostPosted: Tue Oct 05, 2010 11:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thinking back over the last few lessons there were a few things to add.

On my first lesson with Pete I talk about the friction being used in flight. In my last lesson Tony showed me the trim function briefly which is what I think I may have been confusing in that first lesson. Im still not completely sure what the trim is for and when to use it so will try and find out the answer at the next lesson.

On the last lesson Tony was saying how the FREDA mnenomic used in fixed wing instruction wasnt particularly useful and was introducing me to WATER instead. Trying to remember now what WATER stands for. W=Wind, A i think was Altitude/Altimeter correct setting. T= not sure... may hvae been Ts and Ps, may have been traffic, may have been trim. E= not sure.... may have been engine ts and ps, may have been something else. R was radio which it makes sense to have last as you aviate, navigate and then communicate. If anyone knows this mnenomic please let me know what they all mean. We were using this on the downwind leg of the circuit but it may be useful elsewhere in flight.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
MintedMav
'Torquing Regularly
'Torquing Regularly


Offline
Joined: Aug 24, 2010
Posts: 94
Location: Teddington, SW London, UK



PostPosted: Tue Oct 12, 2010 2:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sunday 10th/Monday 11th October

I have a 3 hour lesson booked with Ollie flying out of Wycombe on Sunday and arrive just before 9am under grey skies and mist. I was supposed to have flown the microlight on the Saturday before but the weather had remained misty all day despite being forecast to clear. The forecast for this Sunday was also to clear around 10-10.30am so fingers crossed.

I sit down with Ollie and discuss what I have been up to since I last flew with him. He is up to speed as has been reading this blog which was good. I ask a couple of questions of him about the descent approach that Tony was teaching me but Ollie tells me he prefers the more gradual approach which is more representative of how you fly the aircraft with passengers on board. I also ask him about the 3ft commitment to land with a firm push through the ground cushion and he confirms that this is how he wants me to be landing the aircraft for the time being. Finally I ask about the WATER mnemonic which Ollie hasnít heard before. He uses the fixed wing FREDA instead (more on this later).

Ollie suggests we look at basic auto-rotations today and we go through in detail what is required from the set up of the autorotation, maintenance of RPM and speed control in the descent and the recovery. The plan is to get up to 3,000ft and drop down to 1,000ft for powered recovery. Iíve read in detail the Wagtendonk book and Ollie is pleased that my theoretical knowledge is good commenting that a lot of PPL students donít bother till much later in the course. Ollie also briefs on the flair part of the autorotation just in case we get to that stage of the lesson. Heading outside I pre-flight the aircraft checking a couple of points with Ollie that I wasnít sure about (Gascolator and its purpose and where the alternator belt was located).

By 11am the weather hasnít improved (it eventually cleared around 2pm) so Ollie advises there is no point hanging around and doing a bit of hovering whilst being useful wouldnít help me in my plan to try and complete the course within the minimum time limits.

Monday morning I head down to Gatwick for my CAA medical. Iím having a class 1 medical just in case I decide to take things down the commercial route at a later date but also because the additional cost isnít that much and Iíve never had a thorough medical before and at 38 I probably should have one anyway. The medical is very thorough and after 2.5 hours of tests the doctor issues me with the Class 1 certificate. He explains how the Class 2 operates within this, my responsibilities for notification if I am incapacitated for any reason and the timing of when I would need to update the class 1 and class 2 element of the medical. So there is no obstacle now, other than my skill level, from going solo at some point in the coming months.

From Gatwick I head over to Denham for my 2pm lesson with Pete. Pete has also been reading this blog so is up to speed on the progress I have been making. He has printed off a couple of pages from a book explaining to me the stick trim which was useful. He also tells me that the issue of which mnemonic should be being taught has been raised with HeliAir and some conformity will attempt to be introduced (to be determined). In the mean time he suggests I use which ever I can remember/am comfortable using which to be honest is a bit of a mixture at the moment.

Pete asks if I have been briefed for auto rotations and is pleased that Ollie has saved him a job as this gives us more potential flying time and we head off to pre-flight the R22 I will be flying. Iím told its just back from a full rebuild so is like a new machine. We refuel as there is only 3 gallons left in the tank with the plan to head up to Aylesbury for some altitude for autos and then stop on the way back at Wycombe giving me some more radio practice and circuit joining procedures there.

I complete the start up checks and bring the heli into the hover with a bit of a wobble. Each new aircraft has its own feel and this one is no different. This is not helped by lifting in the downwind position and also the wind is 15kt gusting to 20kts which is giving me some issues. I hover taxi us over the grass with Pete reminding me to fly at a steady pace downwind and then make the radio calls for departure and then depart us out to the north of Denham before turning for Aylesbury. Pete comments that my flying has come on a lot since our first lesson a few weeks ago although I am thinking itís not as good as last week mainly due to this wind.

Once over the hills just short of Aylesbury I take us up to 3000ft and Pete shows me what he wants from the auto. It all looks fairly straight forward with him doing it and Iím quite comfortable with the feeling of the entry and the speed of the descent itself. Recovery made and I take us back to 3000ft for my first go. Practice engine failure 3,2,1 and I lower the lever. Making an ok stab at enough right peddle but the pull back on the cyclic to flair is no way sufficient. Hence my speed control is nearer 75 than 65 and the rotor rpm is moving around a lot more than is ideal and the low RPM horn goes off a couple of times. Back round again for another go and the RPM control is better this time although im still not flairing enough for the entry and speed control still not good. Back round for another go this time starting down wind with a 180 degree turn just to add to the difficulty as the turn adds additional loads to the disc which require further RPM management with the collective. This attempt is the best out of the three and Pete says is within limits but its more reactive than preventing in terms of speed and Rotor RPM control. We head back to Wycombe and I make the radio calls for joining instructions which are low level approaching from the west to the North grass area.

My approach is a little steep with rate of descent a little high as a result but I transition into the hover ok. The wind is blowing a lot more here and my hover is wobbling around a bit which is annoying. I turn directly into wind and this helps a bit although itís still not perfect. In these conditions I am hovering higher than Pete would like and it takes some concentration to get the heli down to the 5ft level which is safer in case of engine failure. I hover taxi us over to the side of the runway and request crossing before hovering us over to HeliAir. I turn the heli for landing and Pete helps a bit as Im getting blown around. He lines us up and I then take over for the landing which was fine.

Pete heads inside to dig out G-OCOV (which is right at the back of the hanger as is always the way) and I catch a well earned break. That 1.1 hours was hard work and Iíve worked up a sweat in the heat and from the levels of concentration.

After a 30 minute break and refuelling and checking out G-OCOV we are ready for the return flight to Denham. Plan is to head back up to Aylesbury to do another couple of autos and then some circuits and landings at Denham. We are given immediate clearance to cross the active runway and depart to the North via the ďGolden ballĒ. Once up to 3000ft and over our earlier practice field we do another couple of autos. The first one is good other than the initial flair which is still on the weak side. The second one I am much more forceful on the rear cyclic as the level goes down and Pete is much happier with this one. As is often the case if you set up right from the off the resulting descent is that much easier and I do a pretty good job with the RPM control down to the 1000ft recovery position.

Heading back to Denham Pete is drumming in the need again for Ts and Ps checks. He says ďif itís been quiet for a bit with the instructor throw in a checkĒ and that it is going to be particularly important I get into this habit before test time. Itís also obviously important for solo expeditions as no one else is going to be checking for me as I fly around !!

We do 3 circuits at Denham with my main fault being lowering the collective too far at the start of the descent which left me between 800ft and 1000ft+ per minute rates if descent. Each time i recovered back to a more sensible rate but I need to not be quite so keen to remove almost all the power at the top. I think part of this is my fixed wing training as I almost always used a glide descent into the flare for landing rather than powered approaches which were only taught for lumpy wind conditions. Anyway lesson is must be more gentle with the collective lowering at the start of the descent and modify from a mid position (ish) rather than lowering too far and having to bring it back up. My transitions to the hover felt pretty good with the exception of the first one where I looked down at the ground rather than the distance which introduced some yaw.

I fly us back over to the HeliAir hangers and am not overly impressed with my hover which is wobbling and yawing a bit. I had tensed up on the controls by then which wasnít helping. Must remember to RELAX and I carry out a reasonable landing on the concrete for shut down.

Some good lessons learnt on this lesson. Wind conditions certainly can make things a lot more challenging so shouldnít take for granted a stable hover and basic auto rotations are not as easy as they look. Of course the real challenge with autos comes with getting the flair right which is for another day. My other mistake, which I havenít documented in the main body of the text, was losing focus on airspeed/climb rates when concentrating on the radio. I would come out of the call and then look at the instruments and be a fair way off what I was supposed to be doing usually either flying too fast or stopping a climb that I should have been in. I need to remember to continue to fly the aircraft properly when making these calls.

Of note the PPL course does not require the student to demonstrate a full auto to the ground with touchdown. I am considering getting Mac at Popham to give me 2-3 hours of lessons in his Gyrocopter to get some experience of landing in autorotation with the gyrocopters wheeled vehicle helping. Must ask the instructors their view on whether this would be a good idea or not and also whether Mac would be happy just teaching that element or not.

Next lesson is Sunday 17th October with Kim 0900 to 1300 at Denham.

The other news is that the updated Air Law book is now in print so Iíve no excuse not to get that ready for examination in the next few weeks or so. The joys !!

Total 8.3 hours
Solo 0.0 hours
Instrument 0.0 hours.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
MintedMav
'Torquing Regularly
'Torquing Regularly


Offline
Joined: Aug 24, 2010
Posts: 94
Location: Teddington, SW London, UK



PostPosted: Tue Oct 12, 2010 2:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sunday 10th/Monday 11th October

I have a 3 hour lesson booked with Ollie flying out of Wycombe on Sunday and arrive just before 9am under grey skies and mist. I was supposed to have flown the microlight on the Saturday before but the weather had remained misty all day despite being forecast to clear. The forecast for this Sunday was also to clear around 10-10.30am so fingers crossed.

I sit down with Ollie and discuss what I have been up to since I last flew with him. He is up to speed as has been reading this blog which was good. I ask a couple of questions of him about the descent approach that Tony was teaching me but Ollie tells me he prefers the more gradual approach which is more representative of how you fly the aircraft with passengers on board. I also ask him about the 3ft commitment to land with a firm push through the ground cushion and he confirms that this is how he wants me to be landing the aircraft for the time being. Finally I ask about the WATER mnemonic which Ollie hasnít heard before. He uses the fixed wing FREDA instead (more on this later).

Ollie suggests we look at basic auto-rotations today and we go through in detail what is required from the set up of the autorotation, maintenance of RPM and speed control in the descent and the recovery. The plan is to get up to 3,000ft and drop down to 1,000ft for powered recovery. Iíve read in detail the Wagtendonk book and Ollie is pleased that my theoretical knowledge is good commenting that a lot of PPL students donít bother till much later in the course. Ollie also briefs on the flair part of the autorotation just in case we get to that stage of the lesson. Heading outside I pre-flight the aircraft checking a couple of points with Ollie that I wasnít sure about (Gascolator and its purpose and where the alternator belt was located).

By 11am the weather hasnít improved (it eventually cleared around 2pm) so Ollie advises there is no point hanging around and doing a bit of hovering whilst being useful wouldnít help me in my plan to try and complete the course within the minimum time limits.

Monday morning I head down to Gatwick for my CAA medical. Iím having a class 1 medical just in case I decide to take things down the commercial route at a later date but also because the additional cost isnít that much and Iíve never had a thorough medical before and at 38 I probably should have one anyway. The medical is very thorough and after 2.5 hours of tests the doctor issues me with the Class 1 certificate. He explains how the Class 2 operates within this, my responsibilities for notification if I am incapacitated for any reason and the timing of when I would need to update the class 1 and class 2 element of the medical. So there is no obstacle now, other than my skill level, from going solo at some point in the coming months.

From Gatwick I head over to Denham for my 2pm lesson with Pete. Pete has also been reading this blog so is up to speed on the progress I have been making. He has printed off a couple of pages from a book explaining to me the stick trim which was useful. He also tells me that the issue of which mnemonic should be being taught has been raised with HeliAir and some conformity will attempt to be introduced (to be determined). In the mean time he suggests I use which ever I can remember/am comfortable using which to be honest is a bit of a mixture at the moment.

Pete asks if I have been briefed for auto rotations and is pleased that Ollie has saved him a job as this gives us more potential flying time and we head off to pre-flight the R22 I will be flying. Iím told its just back from a full rebuild so is like a new machine. We refuel as there is only 3 gallons left in the tank with the plan to head up to Aylesbury for some altitude for autos and then stop on the way back at Wycombe giving me some more radio practice and circuit joining procedures there.

I complete the start up checks and bring the heli into the hover with a bit of a wobble. Each new aircraft has its own feel and this one is no different. This is not helped by lifting in the downwind position and also the wind is 15kt gusting to 20kts which is giving me some issues. I hover taxi us over the grass with Pete reminding me to fly at a steady pace downwind and then make the radio calls for departure and then depart us out to the north of Denham before turning for Aylesbury. Pete comments that my flying has come on a lot since our first lesson a few weeks ago although I am thinking itís not as good as last week mainly due to this wind.

Once over the hills just short of Aylesbury I take us up to 3000ft and Pete shows me what he wants from the auto. It all looks fairly straight forward with him doing it and Iím quite comfortable with the feeling of the entry and the speed of the descent itself. Recovery made and I take us back to 3000ft for my first go. Practice engine failure 3,2,1 and I lower the lever. Making an ok stab at enough right peddle but the pull back on the cyclic to flair is no way sufficient. Hence my speed control is nearer 75 than 65 and the rotor rpm is moving around a lot more than is ideal and the low RPM horn goes off a couple of times. Back round again for another go and the RPM control is better this time although im still not flairing enough for the entry and speed control still not good. Back round for another go this time starting down wind with a 180 degree turn just to add to the difficulty as the turn adds additional loads to the disc which require further RPM management with the collective. This attempt is the best out of the three and Pete says is within limits but its more reactive than preventing in terms of speed and Rotor RPM control. We head back to Wycombe and I make the radio calls for joining instructions which are low level approaching from the west to the North grass area.

My approach is a little steep with rate of descent a little high as a result but I transition into the hover ok. The wind is blowing a lot more here and my hover is wobbling around a bit which is annoying. I turn directly into wind and this helps a bit although itís still not perfect. In these conditions I am hovering higher than Pete would like and it takes some concentration to get the heli down to the 5ft level which is safer in case of engine failure. I hover taxi us over to the side of the runway and request crossing before hovering us over to HeliAir. I turn the heli for landing and Pete helps a bit as Im getting blown around. He lines us up and I then take over for the landing which was fine.

Pete heads inside to dig out G-OCOV (which is right at the back of the hanger as is always the way) and I catch a well earned break. That 1.1 hours was hard work and Iíve worked up a sweat in the heat and from the levels of concentration.

After a 30 minute break and refuelling and checking out G-OCOV we are ready for the return flight to Denham. Plan is to head back up to Aylesbury to do another couple of autos and then some circuits and landings at Denham. We are given immediate clearance to cross the active runway and depart to the North via the ďGolden ballĒ. Once up to 3000ft and over our earlier practice field we do another couple of autos. The first one is good other than the initial flair which is still on the weak side. The second one I am much more forceful on the rear cyclic as the level goes down and Pete is much happier with this one. As is often the case if you set up right from the off the resulting descent is that much easier and I do a pretty good job with the RPM control down to the 1000ft recovery position.

Heading back to Denham Pete is drumming in the need again for Ts and Ps checks. He says ďif itís been quiet for a bit with the instructor throw in a checkĒ and that it is going to be particularly important I get into this habit before test time. Itís also obviously important for solo expeditions as no one else is going to be checking for me as I fly around !!

We do 3 circuits at Denham with my main fault being lowering the collective too far at the start of the descent which left me between 800ft and 1000ft+ per minute rates if descent. Each time i recovered back to a more sensible rate but I need to not be quite so keen to remove almost all the power at the top. I think part of this is my fixed wing training as I almost always used a glide descent into the flare for landing rather than powered approaches which were only taught for lumpy wind conditions. Anyway lesson is must be more gentle with the collective lowering at the start of the descent and modify from a mid position (ish) rather than lowering too far and having to bring it back up. My transitions to the hover felt pretty good with the exception of the first one where I looked down at the ground rather than the distance which introduced some yaw.

I fly us back over to the HeliAir hangers and am not overly impressed with my hover which is wobbling and yawing a bit. I had tensed up on the controls by then which wasnít helping. Must remember to RELAX and I carry out a reasonable landing on the concrete for shut down.

Some good lessons learnt on this lesson. Wind conditions certainly can make things a lot more challenging so shouldnít take for granted a stable hover and basic auto rotations are not as easy as they look. Of course the real challenge with autos comes with getting the flair right which is for another day. My other mistake, which I havenít documented in the main body of the text, was losing focus on airspeed/climb rates when concentrating on the radio. I would come out of the call and then look at the instruments and be a fair way off what I was supposed to be doing usually either flying too fast or stopping a climb that I should have been in. I need to remember to continue to fly the aircraft properly when making these calls.

Of note the PPL course does not require the student to demonstrate a full auto to the ground with touchdown. I am considering getting Mac at Popham to give me 2-3 hours of lessons in his Gyrocopter to get some experience of landing in autorotation with the gyrocopters wheeled vehicle helping. Must ask the instructors their view on whether this would be a good idea or not and also whether Mac would be happy just teaching that element or not.

Next lesson is Sunday 17th October with Kim 0900 to 1300 at Denham.

The other news is that the updated Air Law book is now in print so Iíve no excuse not to get that ready for examination in the next few weeks or so. The joys !!

Total 8.3 hours
Solo 0.0 hours
Instrument 0.0 hours.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
MintedMav
'Torquing Regularly
'Torquing Regularly


Offline
Joined: Aug 24, 2010
Posts: 94
Location: Teddington, SW London, UK



PostPosted: Sun Oct 17, 2010 1:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sunday 17th October 2010

I arrive at Denham just before 9am for my double slot and am introduced to Mark who will be my instructor for the day. He tells me that the helicopter is only booked for me to 11 though so we are going to be a bit short on time. This is more than a bit annoying as the weather is perfect, 5Kts wind and scattered cloud under a high pressure area so we wonít get to take as much advantage of it as we would otherwise. I must ask Aileen about this in the week.

Anyway Mark asks me about my experience so far and plans to focus on some more autorotations for the lesson. He gives me a relatively quick briefing focused on the importance of using the flair to enter into the auto to aid in RPM maintenance whilst the collective is being lowered. Apparently a Robinson test pilot has demonstrated that you could maintain RPM without lowering the collective for as much as 8 seconds although that pilot did eventually die demonstrating this. Anyway the moral is to use the flair to keep RPM as you lower the collective as quickly as possible. Mark also talks me through changing speeds in the descent to move from 40kts to 70kts when needing to fly for more range. He comments that the R22 is a bit of a brick though compared to the R44 and we are pretty much going to be selecting fields close to the point of engine failure. Mark also gives me a quick briefing on engine failure in the hover and in hover taxying and indicates he will show me these recoveries.

We head out to the aircraft and I preflight it while Mark is refuelling. Mark asks me if I have read the POH yet and advises that I need to get myself a copy sooner rather than later as they like pilots flying solo to have an understanding of all the warnings etc and what to do about them. He asks me if i have ever seen the clutch warning light on in flight and I havenít. He asks what i would do if i saw it but ive no idea other than suggesting a clutch warning would probably lead to an autorotation. He says it can come on in flight and as long as it goes off again with 8 seconds this is nothing to worry about and in reality this could be quite a bit longer before a serious problem occurred at which point making a landing as soon as possible would be advisable. There is a circuit breaker which is red which should be pulled if the clutch light stays on for more than the 8 seconds and the POH advises landing immediately with reduced power. He also asks me about the chip detectors and advises that if these go on itís not an immediate concern unless there is a lot of vibration and noise in which case a full engine failure is more imminent. Hence these warnings are orange and not red lights. He does comment that the alternator red light would still likely give you 30 minutes before all the electrics started to fail but the point where you lose the rotor/engine RPM instrument and the governor electrics stop working you are in some serious trouble. He shows me the chip indicator magnet at the base of the gearbox and advises that there is another one for the tail rotor which he then shows me. On the rotor he reminds me of the need to check that there is no liquid dripping from the rubber bearings at the hub of each blade and that in the winter the rubber can be more susceptible to leaking.

I go through the start up checks. Mark recommends that I leave the governor on during the raising of the engine RPM to 75% as bring up the collective without the governor on will quickly overspeed the engine which is far worse than the problem of the engine RPM getting above 80% during the start up checks.

I make the radio calls and then lift us into the hover and slowly turn us round for hover taxi to the start of 06 runway. I turn us into wind in the hover and Mark takes over control to show me the recovery from engine failure in the hover. Engine off and the aircraft quickly descends which he cushions with the collective on touchdown. There is very little extra collective left. I lift us back into the hover and this time itís my turn. I hand back control of the pedals and cyclic as im just going to be controlling the rate of descent with the collective on landing. Engine off and we quickly drop which I manage to cushion nicely with the collective almost fully up just after touching. Mark is happy with this and we go up and do another one which I manage as well as the first one. Next Mark shows me the recovery from the hover taxi. This is definitely a lot more sporting and we slide quite a long way over the grass after touching. Mark suggests we need to head out now as hovering is not permitted on Sundays so I radio ready for departure and make our way out to the north of Denham. I fly us up towards Aylesbury gradually climbing under the Class A above us to 2,500 and then 3,000ft.

Mark talks me through what he is looking for and after a HASEL check and carb heat on I set us up into a normal descent before we remove power and autorotate down. I manage to control the speed and RPM in the green very cleanly and Mark comments that it is about spot on. We climb back up to 3,000ft to focus on the entry into the auto. Mark shows me an actual entry with power off so I know exactly how it should feel in a real emergency and we then climb up for me to have a go. Practice engine failure ready go and I flair with the cyclic while lowering the collective and quite a bit of right pedal. I look down and we are nicely set on 60kts and Iíve managed to keep the Rotor RPM in the green. All good. I control us down with a turn to the right and then the left before we recover and climb back up. Two more of these and then itís to try and change speeds in the auto. Mark reminds me that speeding up unloads the disc which loses Rotor RPM and conversely slowing down flairs the disc loading it and increasing Rotor RPM. I enter into the auto and an set around the 60kts mark. Mark asks me to slow to 40 and it takes quite a lot of rear cyclic to get us there. We then speed up to 70kts and my rotor control is not quite as accurate with the acceleration although itís still well within limits.

We do one more of these and then Mark asks me if I have done any confined work yet and I reply no. He asks me to start to head back to Denham (without giving me any directions) and I turn us round and head back in the correct direction. He asks me where the wind is coming from and I reply its coming from over my right shoulder. Mark is pleased navigation looks like its not going to be a major issue for me and tells me a lot of students really struggle.

I fly us along my planned Denham track for about 5 minutes and Mark then asks me to head off to the right a bit where we are going to land at a farm he has permission to use. First of all we do a power available check to ensure that we can hover OGE. Marks asks me to fly straight and level at 53kts (easier said than done!!) while he explains the theory. 53 kts is the min power required air speed and so by checking the actual power we are using (16-17 inches) we can determine that the 23.5 inches we have available to us for the OGE hover is sufficient Ė we need 6 inches clearance (but we can allow an extra inch as we have carb heat on for the check but this will be off in the hover so we just add 5 in this case) over the min power required speed which would be 17+5=22 inches so we have enough spare all good.

The farm is in sight to the right of track and I set us up on the downwind leg for the approach to what is a fairly small oval grass area for landing. I turn in onto final and am flying a nice gradual descent path down to the landing area. I mess it up a little just at the end as I need to level out the descent a little bit more Ė I was landing just short of the zone on my original descent path. Mark says it wasnít bad though and I touch us down for landing. Mark takes control and quickly takes us back round to show me exactly how he wants it and we then go round again for me to have another go which I manage better this time maintaining a reasonable air speed through the lower parts of the descent.

The farmer is on his lawn mower and waves to us as we make use of his private strip. Very kind of him. Mark asks me to give him control of the collective and I am to fly the helicopter in the hover with just peddle and cyclic while he lowers and raises us from the landing to ensure that I keep flying the heli throughout the landing. Probably 10 ups and downs later and mark is satisfied that I have enough control. Next he hands all 3 controls back to me and asks me to do some run on landings. These feel a bit ďsportyĒ as it feels a lot more comfortable landing the heli without airspeed but I manage 3 or 4 run on landings ok. Next Mark asks me if I have done any landings on slopes and again I say I havenít. He asks how we should be landing on a slope and I hazard a guess sideways as that is all I have seen discussed in the textbook. However Mark says its actually better to land facing uphill. He brings us down to the ground showing me the front of the skid touching the ground with the rear still up. As he lowers the collective the cyclic is pushed quite far forward to keep up from sliding backwards as the rest of the skid comes down. He then reverses this for the takeoff and hands control back over to me and I make 2 take off and landings which go pretty well. Back over to the level ground and a couple more take off and landings and then Mark asks me to do a simulated confined space departure. He puts us in front of two very large oak trees and asks me to lift us and take off straight up to above the tree level before moving the cyclic forward to quickly gain airspeed. I lift us up and Mark reminds me not to try and use any forward airspeed till we are clear of the trees. We continue up and over the tree line (takes longer than you would expect) and then quickly transition to forward speed to get us out of the avoid curve as quickly as possible.

I fly us back over to Denham making the radio call and we then do another autorotation to get us down to 1000ft for the circuit at Denham which goes well. Reporting final Mark tells me we will auto down to the airfield for a full stop auto which he will do for the bottom part. I auto us down to about 300ft before mark ďhelps me out a bitĒ picking up a bit more speed and rotor rpm before the flair and run on landing (due to only 5kts of wind). The flair was nicely controlled and the run on less sporty than the earlier hover taxy run-on landing we did at the start of the lesson. Power is returned and I lift and taxy us back over to the pumps for landing and shutdown.

A very enjoyable lesson. Mark threw a lot of different things into this lesson and it felt like he was really pushing me and my flying was certainly responding well to the challenges presented. I now feel comfortable in the basic auto with good rotor rpm control and my landing/take offs have come on another notch. I loved the work over at the farm location as this is exactly the sort of stuff that the helicopter really excels at.

In the debrief Mark tells me that the next steps are likely to be the initial solo which will involve take off, hover and then landings and then building that up with solo circuits with general handling and more and more emergency skills dual practice in between.

Total 9.7 hours
Solo 0.0 hours
Instrument 0.0 hours.


Last edited by MintedMav on Tue Oct 19, 2010 1:16 pm; edited 1 time in total
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Boecopter
High Flying 'Torquer
High Flying 'Torquer


Offline
Joined: Aug 04, 2007
Posts: 125


uk.gif

PostPosted: Sun Oct 17, 2010 7:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

"flare" is what you make the helicopter do with the controls

"flair" is how you do it

Razz
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
MintedMav
'Torquing Regularly
'Torquing Regularly


Offline
Joined: Aug 24, 2010
Posts: 94
Location: Teddington, SW London, UK



PostPosted: Tue Oct 19, 2010 10:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hehe - thanks Boecopter. Easy mistake to make Wink

If only my flares were being done with flair Smile

On a similar note should it be taxi or taxy ?
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic   Reply to topic    HeliTorque Forum Index » Student Pilots & Hour Builders All times are GMT

 
Goto page 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6  Next
Page 1 of 6

 
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum


Sponsors


Billund Air Center

Visit HeliTorque!