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HeliTorque :: View topic - Danger of leaves?
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HeliTorque Forum Index » Torque, Chat, and Chill!

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Danger of leaves?
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niho
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 08, 2010 6:43 pm    Post subject: Danger of leaves? Reply with quote

I flew the other day to a golf course/hotel where it looked like they had swept all the leaves from the golf course to an area right next to their designated helipad/patch of grass.

Needless to say my landing nearby probably didn't do wonders for keeping all the leaves in one heap, but it got me thinking - apart from the obvious threat to visibility (in my case there weren't enough there to be any problem visibility-wise), is there any potential danger with lots of leaves on the ground when taking off/landing? The only thing I could think of was if they had got in the oil cooler door, so I checked that (none had got in), but is there anything else that could get damaged or that you should look for?
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WindSwept
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 08, 2010 6:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just check for blocking of any intakes, this will restrict airflow and stop the engine working, like you said oil cooler door, because if the radiator is clogged it won't cool properly. As for anything else i don't think there is...
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James T Lowe
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 08, 2010 7:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I doubt leaves on their own would cause you much of a problem.

However, what is there beneath the leaves that you cannot see? Something rigid and plasticy lying there under a pile of leaves wouldn't take a lot of down draft to get moving!
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veeany
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 08, 2010 7:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've no evidence for leaves but the corrner of a plastic bag can be enough to put the main rotor out of balance and make the aircraft shake like a wet dog if you pick one up.

I would imagine a wet leaf or two wrapped around a main rotor blade would have a similar effect. Never picked any up though.
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paddywak
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 08, 2010 8:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What about a snail stuck to the pitot tube
Laughing

I'm not brave enough yet to leave a helicopter unattended as I am wary of unwanted probing and prodding to the heli by members of the public. Did you keep a close eye on it or was it in a secure area at the hotel?

Has anyone experienced this type of exited behaviour by people other than pilots?
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haggishunter
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 08, 2010 9:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Leaves, cut grass etc can cause alot of problems. The oil cooler was mentioned, they will not get in through the oil cooler door on R22 but through the cooling fan. Prolonged hovering will pick up some grass and debris and start to block the effect of cooling for oil but also cylinder temp.

Even on turbines you can have a problem with intakes being blocked. I once had a bunch of leaves and grass block the starter/generator air intake on an EC120, turned out a bird had been building a nest over night near the warm engine. Like the oil cooler on the R22, I have had the engine air intake get covered with grass and other crap.

Clean aircraft policey... doesn't just mean polishing it!

HH Very Happy
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WindSwept
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 09, 2010 11:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ive landed at couple of sites for lunch and not had any problems you just have to do a thorough A check. Most people will look but won't touch anything techincal.

Although i did have an interesting story told to me by an instructor who landed at a hotel for a wedding or party or something, when he came to leave one of the guest had used the cooling fan (r22) as a wine glass holder!
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LoachBoy
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 10, 2010 2:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Weston Supermare golf course - most of the 'civvies' were just interested but one attended littlun decided it would be fun to see what the tail-rotor would do if he kept hitting it!

'Mum' promptly giggled and said "Ooooh look, he wants to be a pilot!".

She declined my offer to see if the little sperm-bomb could fly! Evil or Very Mad
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niho
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 11, 2010 9:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the replies everyone!

JTL - good point, hadn't really thought of that.

HH - Yeh, I didn't stick around too long as I didn't want to find out what potential problems there might be!

The few hotels I've been to have had their helipads away from anything else meaning it would be impractical to keep an eye on it at all times. That said as WindSwept said, a check A on leaving does the trick.
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