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HeliTorque :: View topic - The R22 as a training helicopter
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HeliTorque Forum Index » Torque, Chat, and Chill!

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veeany
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 14, 2009 2:06 pm    Post subject: The R22 as a training helicopter Reply with quote

Before I go and hijack yet another thread I though I'd start the ball rolling on a discussion of the the R22 as a training helicopter and what effects its use has had on training in the UK and worldwide. My thoughts have come about after being in discussion with quite a few instructors some FI(R) some FI about R22 technical things in the last few weeks and my efforts to point them in the right direction. I am not overly R22 current but I am legal on the type and have a great interest in all things technical, I freely admit that several of the current R22 instructors on here could fly rings around me in one.

I hope this might turn into a place to find out some R22 technical issues for all of us perhaps we might also end up some technical issues threads on the other commonly used training types.

I've touched on a few issues in this post http://www.helitorque.com/portal/modules.php?name=Forums&file=viewtopic&t=3127&start=34

but there are plenty of others.

There are always seem to be two groups of people those who love the R22 and those who loathe it. The R22 lovers often seem to try and defend everything about it even when perhaps like most things it has its limitations.

My personal opinion before we get started is that I think its a great personal helicopter, its reliable (from a maintenance point of view), economical from a fuel burn point of view (as far as helicopters go), quick enough to be of use (just) and its fun to fly. I do however believe it to be a 2nd rate training aicraft, its to twitchy, it has too many gotchas for inexperienced pilots and god forbid you have an engine failure, you are probably going to have a bad day regardless of how well you can perfrom the autorotation exercise.

Engine Failures and Carb icing
As a result of it just meeting the certification requirements the pilot intervention time in the event of an engine failure is just too short for most people who happily flying around minding their own business not expecting the failure. Thankfully engine failures are rare probably due to the pilot derating of the engine. Carb Ice incidents are unfortunately monotonously regular and R22s are destroyed on a regular basis as a result of suspected carb ice.

Characteristics in Autorotation
With constant practice instructors usually become very proficient at handling the R22 in autorotation, but SFH pilots don't get enough exposure to the auto characteristics of the R22 particularly post licence issue and the skill erodes.

Engine Off Landings
As a result of way to many Engine off landing accidents during training we are now in a position were student pilots are shown Engine Offs to the ground but do not practice them as part of the PPL course. The thinking behind this is logical in one respect in that it saves R22s being destroyed during practice EOLS by students or instructors who get behind the aircraft or each other, what it does create however is a situation were until a type rating or CPL skills test you don't have to complete an engine off to the ground on your own Rolling Eyes. How does the soon to be instructor then get the skill required to go off on his own (not with his FIC instructor sat next to him) and do engine offs without supervision, answer he doesn't and the skill level in the instructor base gets eroded again. This didn't seem to be a major problem until the R22 came on the scene (thats not to say it didn't exist).

Low G and blade flapping
Whilst there are several helicopters out there with teetering heads they at least had some inertia, and didn't flex in the middle when persuaded to. As a result of the R22s own peculiar rotor design it does seem to have a nasty habit of chopping off its own tail in the event of an engine problem when the rotor RPM decays, at which point your skill level really does become immaterial and you just become an interested passenger whose life is probably about to end in a myriad of light and sound.

I am not deliberately bashing the R22, I would never have been able to afford to get into helicopter flying without it, I owned a couple, believed the BS about if you can fly an R22 you can fly anything and then moved onto bigger and better (perhaps) things and slowly came to realise all helicopters have their own quirks and that being an R22 pilot does not make you a great helicopter pilot, but it might make you a great R22 pilot.

Some points to ponder for the R22 pilots done in my usual dangling the land mined carrot style.

What indications do you have in the cockpit that the governor is masking Carb Ice (if any) ?

What does AD 95-26-04 (the one that puts wind vs experience limits in the POH) really imply, particularly in the UK ?

GS


Last edited by veeany on Sat Mar 14, 2009 6:49 pm; edited 1 time in total
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sgtfrog
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 14, 2009 5:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My 2p worth,

I won't answer the questions as I have already been through that!!!!
Having only recently done any R22 flying My opinion of them is that I don't have that warm fuzzy feeling about them as I do with the other types I fly.

For me personnaly they are not too bad, a bit twitchy but I am happy enough strapping one to my a**e and going flying.

As a trainer I am not so sure....They are very unforgiving and god forbid anything should go wrong! Put it this way, I am not looking forward to teaching in one!! This may change as I get more used to the type.

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 14, 2009 8:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Veeany

I think Frank summed it up nicely when he said that he didnt want the R22 to be used as a trainer. Trainning schools love it for 2 good reasons, low fuel burn so cheaper to run and as it is so difficult to fly compared to other types the student has to do more hours. Thus flying school has a double wammy !!!
In my experience most of the R22 brigade are very ra ra the R22 until they get in something else !
What ever you do fly safely and within your and the machines limits ( espically an R22) Yes I once was qualified on an R22Alpha, before you ask and wondered if i could fly it having got my licence on a Gazelle ( questions I reember at the time why do I have to use the left pedal ? Why can we only put 7 gals of fuel in ? Why is the collective under my armpit just to get off the ground ? Finally practisce engine failure go ................ holy s..t
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 14, 2009 9:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
What indications do you have in the cockpit that the governor is masking Carb Ice (if any) ?

Two people who have been caught out by Carb Ice situations (one an instructor, one a PPL) both told me that there was a *really* noticeable left to right nose swing, caused by the ice build up and the governor attempting to compensate.

A couple of times since I have been flying and "wondered" whether I just sensed a nose swing. Both times I have gone straight for the Carb Heat, then looked down and seen that my Carb Temp is nice and high - so probably a gust of wind or my imagination.

I shall now step back and see whether the land mined carrot goes off Shocked

RC
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 14, 2009 11:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I fly four types. I don't have a favorite, in fact I enjoy flying the R22 as much as any other. If flown sensibly it is in my opinion both a fun and safe machine to fly.

Having done about 100 hours on the Schweizer however, I can see that the R22 is a less forgiving machine and I am always cautious of what students could inadvertently do to may endanger the flight.

On the flip side, how many of us would have been able to afford training without the R22? And how many instructors have got their break in the industry by instructing on the R22? Had I got through my training solely on the Schweizer, would I have found an instructional job and indeed one which has allowed me to fly 500 hours in 9 months? Probably not.

My point being that unless something changes in the industry and other training types become more widely used (and affordable), the chain will continue to consist of new pilots coming through via the cheapest method, coming out the other end to train the even newer pilots who are trying to get start out the industry.

Gary makes a good point with EOLs. Personally I would like to be able to do them more often, but to save training accidents and protect their aircraft schools discourage them from being "practiced" with students and therefore the instructors get rusty and become less likely to even demonstrate them at the risk of something going wrong.

The other week I did my R22 LPC and specifically asked to extend it to do an hour of engine offs to the ground, just for the practice. I really enjoy them but when it comes to instructing someone else to do them, I feel the difficulty is having the experience to know when it's about to go wrong... if the student does something unpredictable at the last minute when you're committed and the throttle is already in the detent, there's probably little you can do in the R22 other than hope your little machine doesn't end rolled into a ball of metal at the bottom.

In the one hand I suspect if I started doing them all the time they would become like any other flight exercise - second nature, but on the other hand is it just a numbers game? If you are doing them all the time and letting students learn from the occasional dodgy one, is it just a matter of time before you will have a mishap? This train of though does not just refer to R22s but they do seem to be the easiest type to get it wrong on and admittedly I don't feel as comfortable doing them in the R22 as I do with the JetRanger or R44, which just seem to float down at the bottom.

Good thread Gary. I know you're not trying to start an R22-bashing thread but I think the reality is it's the cost and the sheer number of R22 trainers around that make it such a popular choice and a "way in" to the industry.

Keep the opinions coming...

Sarah
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 15, 2009 7:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

RC

I was more after the cockpit warnings or instrument indications, but the left and right yaw is obviously worthy of note, whether they would all do it remains to be seen, but it is very useful to know about.

I am holding out for some more answers before we detonate !

I want this to become educational for all of us, it might just save someone one day.

GS
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 15, 2009 8:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Edit 1: I reposted a false inflammatory comment from the other thread, thinking no-one had picked it up, but Haggis did..... sorry

Edit 2: Not sure we'd see any indication other than low carb temp until the butterfly is fully open, or frozen in position. Theres a start for ya V
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 15, 2009 9:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Its also amusing that Frank didn't want the r22 to be used as a trainer, fair enough. However Robinson would not be where they are if it wasn't. Bet he's glad now.
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 15, 2009 11:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interesting toppic...

We might slate it, but what alrernatives are there to the R-22 for training though in a similar bracket?

Its not the perfect machine, but I dont care... its the only one I can afford to fly!!!
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 17, 2009 1:53 pm    Post subject: R22 Reply with quote

Fantastic training helicopter............. as long as you fly it within its limitations and maintain that Main Rotor RPM at all costs - if not = the most unforgiving Helicopter around. Having flown with Tim Tucker and other high time Robinson Test pilots, they hammer these points into you.
A LOT of Pilots would not be flying if it wasn't for the R22, including myself. Yet to try the 300 so couldn't comment on that one..yet.
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 17, 2009 2:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Let's also not forget that any of these machines if not flown correctly has the possibility to right royally mess up your life!

It's all about tuition, practice, common sense and not trying to do things you shouldn't be doing.

Any aircraft and I do mean ANY (even multi-million dollar space-craft), if not flown correctly will mess you up good and proper.

The R22 is a fantastic machine and although it was never intended as a trainer I think it is fantastic that it is. I have met quite a few military pilots who are amazed when you say you fly a 22 and they have said that they gave one a go and couldn't see how it was possible!

It's been said that if you can fly a 22 you can fly almost anything and I think I have to agree. As they are so twitchy and light then when you move into bigger territory then the helicopters obviously become more inherently stable and so that gives you a good hand up but it's like anything. Practice, practice, practice.

Many cars weren't originally made to be race-cars but they are turned into them and perform the job very very well. It's about the person inside the machine and their capability more than anything.

Just my two penneths worth though Wink

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 17, 2009 3:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

WhirlyGuy wrote:
It's been said that if you can fly a 22 you can fly almost anything and I think I have to agree.


Once you learn to fly one helicopter, the skill should be transferable to another. The controls are the same, are they not? Pedals. Stick. Lever. Shouldn't matter if it's R22, R44, R66, AS355 or A109... the general mechanics are the same.

I know what you're trying to say; that having learnt on an R22, it should be easier to switch to another type. At one time, I think I would have agreed with that.... I bet it's not that straightforward stepping out of an R22 into an A109.... yet the other way around.. I should think A109 to R22 conversion training is far easier. Wink
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 17, 2009 3:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

James T Lowe wrote:
WhirlyGuy wrote:
It's been said that if you can fly a 22 you can fly almost anything and I think I have to agree.


I know what you're trying to say; that having learnt on an R22, it should be easier to switch to another type.


Yep that's more what I meant.

James T Lowe wrote:
At one time, I think I would have agreed with that.... I bet it's not that straightforward stepping out of an R22 into an A109.... yet the other way around.. I should think A109 to R22 conversion training is far easier. Wink


Well I know all the buttons and switches come into it but I was more referring to the actual handling of the helicopters. As the machine gets heavier then hovering and general manoeuvres get, or at least should get easier. That's more what I was referring to Wink

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 18, 2009 8:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Heliwhore

Spot on, the reason I asked is that I've been told by more than one FI in the recent past that because the throttle is opened by the governor the manifold pressure will go up, when pressed on the subject they draw a beautiful picture of a carburettor and explain roughly how it works while completely missing the point that the ice places a restriction in the path the air takes to get to the cylinders and that the manifold pressure is measured at the inlet manifold (downstream of the carburettor).

A quick look at SN-31 in the flight manual say it all, the manifold pressure will remain constant.

I guess the MAP must wiggle around slightly (as the ice builds and the throttle opens), but no more than normal I would think until you get to tjhe point were the icing becomes quite serious and then you perhaps notice and pull carb heat and make the RPM go down and the engine probably misfire all of which encourages you to push the carb heat back as it was what cause the misfire in the first place (or so you think).

GS
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 18, 2009 11:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Heres a suggestion for a training helicopter, I will admit this is not my own original work.

R44, strip out the back seats and any trim to lighten it as far as possible. De-rate the engine further (after all, it's only a 2 seater), to extend service intervals and extend component life, allowing cheaper per-hour running costs.

Reduce fuel burn as part of the de-rate, once again lowering per-hour.

We now have a two seat trainer with the running costs not that much higher than a 22, but with high inertia rotor, none of the weight/CofG problems, better climb rate and top end speed, meaning less time travelling/climbing so training objectives met faster. Greater luggage space. The list goes on....
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