Posted: Sat May 29, 2010 6:13 am Post subject: Flying a helicopter is easy. If only we didn't need RT
I did a nav ex with my instructor yesterday, we flew from Perth down to the Forth Bridges into Edinburgh's controlled airspace, then back up via Leuchars military airspace and then flew overhead Dundee airport.
I have no problem flying the machine, I have no problem with nav. I got told off for not looking at the map enough!
I struggled with the sheer amount of RT required. Constantly changing frequency. Simply leaning forward in the R22 to dial in the radio or transponder has an adverse affect on the attitude of the aircraft.
I know that the RT will come with practice but it is difficult to practice when the ground staff are not following the procedures.
I don't really have a problem with RT as I have been using marine VHF for years calling up ship VTS or pilot station etc. Entering the port of Livorno in Italy is much like landing at Edinburgh airport you have to call up 3 different stations on 3 different frequencies. The only real difference being the ship maintains its course and speed with no input from the officer of the watch, so they can concentrate fully on sending the required information.
A poor worker always blames his tools, the machine I was flying yesterday had a niggling trait that the collective would drop down when ever you took your hand off it. OK this can be sorted with a little bit of friction but the other machines I have flown you could take your hand away for a second to adjust carb heat without dropping at 500ft per minute. Not to mention the fact that the radio didn't transmit properly from my side and I was barely readable.
I was starting to feel out of my depth with the work load, simply trying to manage the RT side. So my height and speed suffered throughout the flight not helped by the collective dropping off constantly even with friction. (I think my co pilot was pushing it down to test me ) _________________ Jonathan
Hey mate, i know exactly how you feel, when i first started out RT was my nemesis for ages! Sometimes even when i knew what to say, as soon as i depressed the transmit button, it seemed to be connected to my brain and immediately dumped all of what little capacity i had at the time! Same goes for when you fly with a helmet, that darn thing used to block 99% of your capacity as well! Especially a slightly ill fitted one!
But yeah, you've probably heard of armchair flying - that works, also on your navexes, put a lil lightning mark on your map where you need to talk to someone with the frequency near it. Even write down your future waypoints so you can read it off when you're transmitting your nav intentions etc. Also work on a standard frame of what to say whenever you first talk to a freq. Could go on forever, but that's just my lil 2 cents. Good luck mate!
Like death and taxes, RT and other people "not doing it right" are 2 inevitabilities of flying in the UK.
If you have been progressing well with the handling, your instructor may have been trying to push you slightly on the nav ex with regard to the other crucial aspects of flying, so I don't think it is any cause for getting despondent.
While there may be any number of radio transmit issues on the aircraft, other very common factors are:
1. People's reluctance to get the boom mike of a communal headset right up close to their lips; or
2. A loose screw on the boom mike meaning that it keeps swinging away from the mouth.
That may sound obvious, but you'd be surprised how often it happens - if we hear other people OK we often seem to forget about the mike positioning for some reason
What is for certain is the extra workload it brings when you can't be understood properly on the RT
Joined: Apr 27, 2005 Posts: 518 Location: SE England
Posted: Thu Jun 03, 2010 2:52 pm Post subject:
Those first cross country nav exercises are seriously hard work - don't underestimate the number of new skills that you are going to have to use all in one go and as a result get downheartened. I was flying to a pretty good standard when I moved onto nav and just adding the chart into the mix made me fly like a complete buffoon - I think i even forgot what way was up at one point!
Like everything (remember when you couldn't hover...?) it comes with time and practice. If the workload is just too much then speak to your instructor and ask for a simpler cross country to get your confidence back. I flew an easy route with my instructor then did the same thing solo straight afterwards and I swear he drove out and turfed over one of the towns that was the turning point Your flight sounds pretty complicated for an early nav-ex.
As for R/T, the answer is to listen. I think we discussed this recently on here somewhere, but I would recommend buying an airband radio and tuning in to your local tower / approach / whatever frequency and listen. Despite there being pretty rigid standards applied to R/T in the UK you will have found that standards and procedures vary greatly. Listening in to how a mixture of amateur/professional and experienced/newbie pilots and controllers do it will help you get a feel of things and you'll soon become more proficient.
Above all, don't beat yourself up about it. Flying a helicopter is quite a skill to attain. Navigating is an art in itself. When you combine the two don't be surprised that your ability tails off a bit, at least at first. You'll get better
And don't get me started on the poxy collective friction... _________________ DBChopper
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