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HeliTorque Forum Index » Student Pilots & Hour Builders

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MintedMav
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Location: Teddington, SW London, UK



PostPosted: Mon Nov 08, 2010 1:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sunday 7th November 2010

It had been 3 weeks since my last lesson with Mark due to last weeks lesson being cancelled for weather (low visibility and lowering cloud base) so I was wondering how I would fare on this lesson. Im booked in for a double lesson with Pete out of Denham and arrive at 8.45am. Pete is already in and asks me to do the A-check on the aircraft while he helps push out another heli for Mark.

Following the A-Check we do a short briefing where Pete says that we are going to focus on the aspects needed to get me to the point of my first solo which are primarily circuits and we will fly to Wycombe for these. We also go through the emergency procedures in the R22 POH just to make sure I would know what to do if warning lights came on, tachs stopped working etc. We also talk about the reasons behind the Manifold pressure limit chart and also discuss over-speeds and how to avoid them.

We fuel G-OCOV and start her up and I get her into the air a little too abruptly for Pete’s liking but my hover is ok and the taxi and departure are good also. An uneventful flight over to Wycombe passing over the scattered cloud base (surface still in sight). I make a complete mess of the radio call as overloaded with the reply and hadn’t fully prepared for which runway and landing area i was expecting us to be given which along with the low level approach and the QFE was too much to remember. I ask the controller to repeat and still make a mess of it so Pete steps in and makes the reply for me. Must remember to look at the Wycombe plate before departing to prepare for what instructions I am expecting to prevent this overload problem.

Around the circuit and approach to the hover which still has some errors that we are going to try and iron out over the lesson. Namely maintaining too high an airspeed and coming in with too high a decent rate leading to an aggressive flare rather than a nice gentle loss of height and airspeed.

We do a couple more circuits but the cloud base is around 700ft which is not ideal and my approaches are still not as good as they could be. Given the cloud base we do some low level work on limited power. Pete shows me the technique for taking off if there is insufficient power for the hover getting the skids light, forward on the cyclic a bit and then wiggling the skids with the pedals to get the heli started moving forwards and gradually picking up speed across the grass to get enough lift. Once in the air maintain acceleration as normal. I take control and bring us round for my go and am happy to say I made a reasonable effort at it. It felt a bit weird and I was nervous about pushing the cyclic too far forward but with a bit of encouragement get us sliding along and up into the air. Pete takes over to show me the landing with limited power (not enough to hover) which is a fairly simply run on landing similar to the ones I was trying with Mark 3 weeks ago. I must be getting more used to it now as both Pete’s demo and my effort felt more normal and my effort was under control.

We then do the same with just sufficient power to get into a hover IGE about 6-12 inches off the ground and do the transitions away and the landings in which again are fairly uneventful.

We then fly over to a rounded concrete area to practice some landings and try and smooth out my tendency to put the aircraft down a little bit heavy. 6 or 7 take offs and landings and its getting better.

Its then time to head back to heliair and I hover taxi us to Zulu to request crossing of the runway back to Romeo via Xray and back to Hotel (heliair). The wind has picked up to about 15Kts and the hover at Zulu was completely downwind which was a bit more challenging as was the downwind hover taxi across the runway but all was under reasonable control. Out the front of Heliair I land on the grass area which has a 6 degrees upslope as a bit of sloped landing practice.

Overall I felt a little bit rusty and my flying wasn’t as exact as it had been 3 weeks before. In the break Pete and I discuss in a lot more detail exactly how he wants my approaches to be done and I clear up some of the issues I had in terms of speed control, too fast descents and the subsequent required flare at the bottom. He wants me to be gradually bleeding off my speed and height and using a minimal if any flare at the bottom for a round out and let the heli gradually slow to the hover.

Back to the aircraft and I make the calls to Wycombe ground before being passed to the Tower frequency. First time I’ve seen that process in action but all easy enough. Sloping ground take off and we make our way back to the training area for some more circuits to the north side of the runway. Pete is much happier with my approaches for these 3 or 4 circuits and now I understand what he is wanting it’s easy enough to put into practice. Pete picks me up on the fact that I need to be quicker with the action of putting the carb heat down so as not to leave my hand off the collective too long at 300ft. I also have a tendency to stop climbing about 500ft as I make my post departure checks which I need to sort out in the next lessons.

After a few circuits its back to Denham via Amersham which I navigate without too much of a problem before joining the busy circuit at Denham which has 3 fixed wingers on downwind/base. We slow right down to slot in behind the 3rd one before coming round onto base/final for the approach down to the west side of the runway before hovering back to heliair for the end of the lesson. My landing at the hanger onto the concrete was again a little bit heavy and Pete comments “well we are definitely down”... this still needs more finesse !!

Total 11.7 hours
Solo 0.0 hours
Instrument 0.0 hours.

Note – following this lesson I went down to Popham for a flight with John Wilson (my microlight instructor) in the Eurostar EV97 to see if I could still remember how to land it. This was the first time in the plane since starting the helicopter course and I am pleased to report that I made 3 uneventful circuits with good landings and so am current again on the Eurostar. Just need to find time to keep current with all the heli flying Very Happy
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Harry
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 08, 2010 5:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ah Wycombe, brings back memories. Did my initial training at Helicopter Services...

I remember X ray, Zulu and training area November well!
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MintedMav
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 12, 2010 12:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thursday 11th November – FRTOL practical exam

Over the last 12 weeks I have been working through an internet based FRTOL course from Jeff McCall at www.flightrt.co.uk as I hadn’t got round to doing my radio exams during my NPPL(m) course and wanted to get this sorted sooner rather than later. Having completed the course on Monday I immediately organised the practical for the Thursday on the principle that “now is as good a time as any”.

I arrive at HeliAir at 5.50pm and chat to Aileen who is just packing up for the day. The weather was blowing 50kts outside and there has been no flying for the last couple of days as a result. She says the wind is well over the limits for the R22 and whilst you can take a R44 up in this weather it’s not particularly comfortable. She asks how I am getting on with the course and why I am doing the radio element so early in and I explain its so I can use it for the microlight flying and that I will apply for the licence before completing the PPL(h). She asks if I have done the written part yet and I say that my plan is to do it on Saturday after my lesson with Kim.

Neil comes down and introduces himself to me still wearing his London Ambulance Service HEMS flying suit (Jealous). He hands me the instructions for the exam that I will be doing and leaves me to read through while he finishes with another student he is examining.

I read through the exam notes and am surprised at how extensive the exam is going to be. I’d heard that this was the exam that most students fear the most but wasn’t expecting it to be this difficult. The course I had gone through with Jeff had given me the confidence to tackle such an exam but it dawned on me that I perhaps wasn’t as fully prepared as I might have been. Oh well.... “in for a penny”.

Neil comes down and asks if I have any questions. I ask if we are using the new ATSOCAS services and he confirms that we are. We also discuss position reports and he confirms that he does not expect full position reports each time and I should do what I would expect to do in real life RT rather than the text book correct version. I seek further clarification on whether he wants time reporting as part of my position reporting with ETA at next turning point and he confirms again that I would not be failed for leaving these out as this is what I would do in real life reporting. He asks about the work I have done to prepare for the exam and whether I have sat a trial practice run - I haven’t. He seems to think I may struggle and comments that if the exam starts to become too instructional that we would turn it into a lesson and sit the exam another time! Hmmmmm

We head upstairs to the exam room and Neil asks me a couple of questions around obtaining a true bearing to assist in establishing position and also asks me about my understanding of class A airspace and what I would be required to request to enter class A in a helicopter around Heathrow as an example. Neil is satisfied that I seem to know what I am doing and he asks if I have any more questions which I don’t. He shows me the equipment, explains how to change frequency on the device, the PTT button and the red light which will indicate the emergency that is documented in the exam notes. He explains that we are not using a computer simulation as some examiners do and that there will be a fair amount of “acting” through the scenarios as we work through the flight route. He also tells me the “voice” he will use for other air traffic as he simulates other aircraft on the radio. Finally I don’t have a simulated transponder so I just have to imagine I have entered the required code. No further questions and off we go. Headset on and he checks we can hear each other.... reminding me I have to press the PTT button to talk !!

Now obviously this is an exam so I am not going to go through in detail each of the elements. What I will do is outline the elements I was examined on and any mistakes that I made that we covered in the debrief. This should serve the reader in understanding the extent of the exam (its extensive) and give an idea of how prepared they need to be and will also pass on some tips on a couple of things that I wasn’t clear on or hadn’t heard of previously.

The exam started at a controlled airfield. There were a number of choices of radio frequency that could have been selected and you have to know which one you should start with and then move on to the next appropriate frequency as you progress etc. The exam sheet has a LOT of option of frequencies/stations and during the exam finding the correct one wasn’t particularly easy. In real life when you plan your route you mark down all the frequencies you need and in what order but I didn’t have time before the exam to do this.

Following the initial call, taxi instructions and departure instructions including a conditional clearance we leave the airfield. Change to the next required frequency and make the calls to go through the MATZ. Out the other side (note – when I left the MATZ my radio call was “leaving the zone to the west” when it should have been “leaving the MATZ to the west” to avoid confusion with the ATZ within the MATZ) and change to en route frequency choosing the best frequency given there was a busy piece of airspace and requesting the appropriate service. Turning at the compulsory reporting point and then change to another frequency. I then hear a MAYDAY call from another aircraft that doesn’t get picked up by the controller and relay the mayday. I got most of the required information but obviously you have to be quick in writing down all the relevant details so that you can give the call correctly. In real life this must be so much harder!! Anyway the pilot lands safely and I relay the cancelled MAYDAY and continue on. I then change frequency to obtain a directional fix requesting the true bearing from the station and using this to determine where I am on my planned track and distance from the next turning point. (This activity wasn’t something I had ever done before and wasn’t covered in my preparation although it’s simple enough to understand).

Next turning point and my planned emergency happens which requires a PAN PAN message and I make the call including my plan to divert to an alternate before the problem resolves itself and I cancel the PAN call. I change frequency and request SVFR clearance into class A space and then cross the zone, check the weather at the destination airfield and make the decision to continue on to the destination at which point Neil terminates the exam.

Neil comes into the room and comments that there were a few issues but that I had passed... Woohoo!!!. He says that I am confident and clear on the radio which is all good. We then go through some of the points I had made errors on.

Firstly I have a habit of saying “airbourne departure airfield for destination airfield”. Neil doesn’t like the use of “airbourne” at the start of this and equally doesn’t like “for” as it can be confused with the number four. I explain this is a habit I have picked up from my microlight instructor who teaches this format. He suggests that I should focus on just saying the departure airfield and the destination field eg G-CDVI is a C42 microlight Popham to Denham etc Obviously this also using the word “to” which can be confused with the number two but Neil tells me this is acceptable.

My taxi position reporting wasn’t as good as it could have been at the start of the test. Probably down to some nerves on my part and getting used to visualising where the aircraft was supposed to be and what it was doing.

On my take off clearance I read back “cleared for take-off”. Again Neil doesn’t like the use of “for” and I should just report “cleared take-off”.

My MATZ departing error has been discussed in the main text above.

I used an FIS frequency for part of my route and Neil advises that I am much better to stick with radar frequencies especially as radar was available throughout the route. He says in practice in the UK you have 90% radar coverage+ and that using LARS like Farnborough is the best option.

Neil then discusses with me that my level reporting early on in the exam wasn’t up to scratch and the controller had to prompt me for level a couple of times. However I had been much more specific about levels when I was around the class A airspace towards the end of the exam so he was happy that I had met the required standard. Level is something I need to give more often in my real life calls, I tend to focus on my position rather than my altitude in my calls.

Neil is happy with my relayed Mayday and my Pan Pan call. I made one error in the order on the relayed Mayday which was due to me not getting all the information down on paper and remembering the extra piece after having already given the earlier piece of information. My Pan call was word perfect though and Neil was satisfied that I had learned and demonstrated the order correctly.

We discuss the Class A airspace and my perception of where it started on the map compared to his. The map for the exam wasn’t exactly clear and Neil agrees my interpretation of it was probably correct. It did mean I had made an extra call for clearance that he had thought wasn’t required but not a problem. One error I did make out of ignorance was that after clearance was given and I confirmed with the read back the controller ended with “it’s a radar service”. This wasn’t something I had come across as it doesn’t fit the “basic, traffic, deconfliction, procedural” that I had covered in my studies so I just replied “roger”. Neil advises that the term “radar service” is an agreement between controller and pilot and means that I am expected to comply with ATC instructions if/where given. I should have responded “radar service” to confirm the agreement.

Things I found difficult keeping on top of during the exam due to the artificial nature of it was remembering my aircraft registration and type, remembering the station I was talking to (as it kept changing), working out which frequency I had to change to next (I confused myself and the controller at one point suggesting I was changing to a frequency and station that didn’t exist) and working out what piece of the scenario I was required to do next. Basically there is a lot going on and in real life with proper pre-flight planning and normal situational awareness these problems would be lessened or removed.

Anyway a very intensive hour and I learned a lot from it so all good. I just need to get through the written exam on Saturday which compared to this should be a piece of cake!!!

Total 11.7 hours
Solo 0.0 hours
Instrument 0.0 hours.
Exams passed - FRTOL practical
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tombeeston
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 12, 2010 8:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

very interesting, and congratulations!!!! Good luck for the written. I'm dreading that practical - i hate role playing - find the artificial nature very difficult.

So once again, well done!
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MintedMav
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 13, 2010 5:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Tom,

Good to hear from you. My advice is just to get it booked and done. Whilst its a very challenging exam if you have done your preparation you will be fine and I hate having these sort of things "hanging over me".

Saturday 13th November

Am booked in for a double lesson with Kim at Denham and arrive at 8.45 to find Kim is already there waiting for me. He tells me we need to swap aircraft half way through the lesson over at Wycombe and that we will be focusing on Vortex Ring, advanced auto-rotations and high hovers with either zero airspeed or zero groundspeed.

After a quick briefing the key point being Kim tells me that the maximum distance is achieved by flying at 75kts and 90% RRPM. He tells me not to be scared of flying at 90% RRPM and that there is still plenty of margin for error in using this rotor speed.

After the a-check and fuel I get us into the hover slightly shakily before hover taxying over to r/w 24 for the departure. Out over Amersham and with about 2400 ft we start the vortex ring demonstration downwind. Kim had warned me that it is quite hard to get a R22 into vortex ring although he encounters it often when doing tv filming work in the R44. We put the aircraft into a descent and bleed off the speed and the vortex ring wobbling and vibrations kick in quite quickly and it is quite a clear demonstration. Push the cyclic forward and we go round for my turn.

Same again it was relatively easy to get the heli into the incipient stage which we keep for 3-4 seconds before recovering.

Next up we work on some high hovering at about 2000ft. Kim asks me to put the heli into a zero airspeed hover which whilst taking a bit of time to bleed off the speed wasn’t too difficult. Next up is the zero groundspeed which at 2000ft isn’t that easy to judge. I get it steady though and am reasonably happy with my position. Kim now asks me to do a spot turn at this altitude. Starting round its easy enough but turning through the downwind and crosswind from the left there is a lot of stick and foot control required. I overcompensate on releasing left pedal and the turn stops and is quite difficult to get started again. I manage to bring us round pretty much in the same place over the ground. Kim does a quick demo to show the control needed through the latter part of the turn and my second effort is much more controlled and Kim is satisfied with the effort.

We then head over to the “golden ball” which is on the edge of the Wycombe ATZ and Kim shows me a vertical descent autorotation into a pretty tight field. He judges the point to start to accelerate spot on although I had thought he had left it a fraction late at first. Back up to 3000ft and its my turn. Enter of autorotation was clean and my RRPM control is good. It takes me a bit of time to get the airspeed back for the vertical descent/slight backwards movement with the wind assist and I then transition to accelerate at 300ft ish. My judgement was a bit late and I would have missed the planned field although there were others around I could have used if it was a real emergency and this was a lesson in vertical autos not exact PFLs so not a problem.

I radio for join at Wycombe and Kim asks me to judge the descent into the first part of the airfield just past the windsock which requires a precision approach. I do a very nice job and just before the flare we are cleared to cross the runway to Heliair so we expedite the crossing and take it over to the concrete for landing in front of the hanger. I put it down a little bit heavy due to a slight “wobble” at about 6 inches off the ground and so Kim lifts us back up again to make me do it properly. I do a better job the second time.

We have a break and change to another R22... G-JHEW. I pre-flight it while its being refuelled and then get us clearance to lift and taxi across to the North side training area crossing the runway following a conditional clearance for the landing P28.

Kim immediately asks me to take us round for a circuit and we do 3 or 4 of these, the latter 3 of which were a reduced circuit for time. Kim is asking me to hold the speed at 60Kts all the way down to the transition rather than gradually peeling off the speed as Pete had been asking in the previous letter. His rationale is that 60Kts is a far more useful speed if the engine goes which obviously makes sense. It does mean the attitude for the flare is more pronounced though. I don’t mind which approach is used as can do either from a skill point of view but it would be nice to have a bit more consistency between instructors.

Kim does pick up a fault with my departures though. During the first part of the transition from the hover I had a tendency to put the nose a bit too far forward rather than picking up speed with less nose down attitude. I think this was due to my desire to push through flap back which I was overdoing. The plus side of my attempt was that it was more fun but it requires a lot more power as the rotor angle has much less of a vertical component so when you get to 40Kts there isn’t any further power you can pull and you just get a gradual climb benefitting from the translational lift. By being more gentle and picking up airspeed more gradually with less nose down attitude the power required is much less and when 40kts is reached there is ample spare power to lift away quickly. Much safer and will concentrate on this going forward.

We head out along the railway to the North of Wycombe which takes us up towards Aylesbury where we do a couple more auto-rotations. Kim demonstrates the maximum glide at 75kts and 90% RRPM and then I bring us round for my go. Entry in is fine with RRPM in the green and I set the speed at 75kts and gradually bring the RRPM down to 90%. It takes me a bit longer than Kim would have like which is obv not ideal if you really do need to get that glide stretched in a real emergency. Back round and my second effort is better although it still takes me a bit of time to get the rotors below the warning horn. Once I get us to 90% I control the rotor speed nicely. We do one more and once I have set us up at 75kts/90% Kim asks me to take my hand off the collective to show that it will hold at 90% in that configuration and that I don’t need to be having to control too much with the collective.

We head back going past David Jason’s house, Jackie Stewarts mansion with its immaculate one hole golf course, golf driving range and 2 helipads and also past Chequers.

Just before Amersham we do another couple of auto-rotations with a 180degree turn into wind before heading back to Denham. Into the circuit and maintaining height at 800ft we auto down to the airfield with me flaring at the bottom before Kim applying the power to recover us into the hover.

I hover us back to Heliair and as this is downwind and I was going a little bit fast in this 22 which has a smaller engine and am having to pull too much power to retain the hover taxy height. Kim tells me to slow down a bit and this reduces the power requirement for the height. I position us at the edge of the concrete outside the Heliair office and bring us down for shutdown.

Back inside and I sit the HPL exam and the Communications exam. I manage to get the first 3 questions of the HPL exam wrong (one of which was the stupidest mistake ever) and it’s not looking good but I only get one more wrong and so the 16/20 is enough to beat the 75% pass rate. (just).

The communications exam is less of an issue and I get 29/30. The only one I got wrong was the meaning of the word “roger”, the only two reasonable choices were “I have received all of your message” and “I understand your message”. I had previously thought roger meant “I have received and understood your last message” and so was left between the two choices and got it wrong. Anyway a pass is a pass as Kim reminds me.

Total 13.8 hours
Solo 0.0 hours
Instrument 0.0 hours.
Exams passed - FRTOL practical, Communications written, HPL
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MintedMav
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 27, 2010 7:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Saturday 27th November 2010

I am booked in from 9am to 12am at Denham with Pete Rafferty and arrive under a cloud of snow and forecast cloud base of 400ft and viz of 4000m ish.

I head upstairs and find Pete making his breakfast and a cup of tea. I comment on the weather and that I am ready to take my air law exam if all else fails. He suggests we get on and do that straight away as he can get G-JHEW ready while im doing the paper and we can then brief for the lesson and go and play if the weather improved.

I get through the exam in about 20 minutes and get 37/40 correct which I was happy with. 2 of the questions I got wrong were relating to helicopter wake vortex categorisation and describing which states rules are in place when a plane is in flight over a state other than its own registration. Pete doesnt tell me about the 3rd one although he comments it was "a bit of an unfair question" and that its nothing to be concerned about.

Pete then briefs me on Exercise 20 (transitions out of and into the hover) and quick stops which lead on from exercise 20. He explains its all about getting that next level of precision and is an excellent lesson in co-ordination.

Getting into the hover I make the mistake of putting in an input on the cyclic rather than responding to the aircraft and had put in too much aft cyclic which I have to correct when the skids go light and also too much left cyclic as well. Not a great start but once ive sorted this out I lift nicely into the hover and ive not lost the knack of hovering in the 2 weeks away.

We head out and start on the hover transitions which are not too much of a problem and all good fun bombing around the airport at low level Smile

Onto the quick stops and I make a reasonable effort on these. Starting into wind accelerating, climbing to 50ft and then hard flare, lowering lever, bringing it to a stop raising level and balancing on the pedals as required. We do about 10 of these and they are pretty good. Main faults were a balloon here and there (but nothing excessive) and not levelling back on the cyclic at the end of the flare quickly enough.

On one of the quick stops the low RPM warning horn comes on almost immediately after a noticable drop in engine noise. I'm frozen for a split-second and my mind is racing whilst looking down at the red warning light. I'm starting to think "Shit... Pete needs to take over here" and before I get around to "doing" anything Pete brings the engine back up and we regain rotor and engine RPM (Pete had rolled off the throttle as a demonstration).

It was a very good lesson as clearly I wasnt ready for an engine failure. Pete explains that if this does ever happen in real life keep the flair going to maintain rotor RPM, get the level down until the last minute and take the run on landing directly in front of you using whatever collective you have at the last second to absorb as much of the landing as possible.

We then do a downwind quickstop which involves putting in a "cheeky flare" to kick off some speed and then turning into wind making the full quick stop as you get to within 30% of the into wind direction. These all go fairly well although the "cheeky flair" bit takes a demonstration from Pete to get it right.

We they do a landing on the grass and my old habit of bringing us down a bit too hard is back in evidence so Pete gets permission to use the runway and we head onto the concrete for probably 15 minutes of take off and landing practice.

First couple are too hard again and Pete gets me working on lowering the collective more gently and feeling for the touchdown point. 10 or so up and downs and I ask if we can do the exercise I did with Mark where the instructor takes the lever and I have to carry on flying with Pedals and cyclic only to ensure I keep flying the aircraft on the touch down and take offs. We do a few of these and Pete suggests we swap around as he things its my lever control that is the issue, not peddles and cyclic.

So pete now has the pedals and cyclic and i'm working on the collective only talking Pete through when im raising and lowering so there are no nasty surprises. Again we do about 10 ups and downs and im getting a much better feel for the touchdown point (its landings that were my issue, not so much take-offs).

Pete hands back all the controls and we do a number of ups and downs again and he and I are much happier with my landings now. This has been very useful as I have only been flying an average of an hour per week and needed the intensive practice.

The weather is not good enough for circuits so we agree to call it a day there and head back to the pumps. I do a practice quick stop during the hover taxi over to the pumps just to check I had it down and then Pete asks me to hover in front of the pumps just onto the concrete, spot turn (I choose to spot turn to the left even though the wind is from my right) and then hold the hover above the concrete with the tips of the skids in line with where the grass starts. The wind is from my left and the hover is a bit more tricky as a result but I make a very nice landing in the correct spot which Pete says was one of the best ones I had done all morning.

I ask Pete how I am getting on in terms of progress and trying to meet the 45 hour minimum. He comments that given my flying is not so frequent it may take a bit longer than 45 hours but im still doing well. I may do a dedicated week in January to get this back on track depending on the weather situation.


Total 14.7 hours
Solo 0.0 hours
Instrument 0.0 hours.
Exams passed - FRTOL practical, Communications written, HPL, Air Law.
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MintedMav
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 28, 2010 6:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sunday 28th November

I have a single slot booked at Denham from 2pm to 4pm (approx time of sunset) with Simon Browne who is the head instructor at HeliAir and responsible for all pilot line checks within the company.

He asks how im getting on and I say pretty well with just below 15 hours so far under my belt. He opens the file and sees ive passed by radio tests and so says I will be in charge of the radio for the flight. He asks if I know my way to Wycombe and given the affirmative says its up to me to get us over there without help.

The plan is to do some more circuit work and check over some emergency procedures whilst in the circuits. I say I would like to pack in as much as we can into the remaining amount of the 2 hour slot and Simon says we have about 17 gallons of fuel which will be enough for 80-90 minutes flying.

I start up, make the radio calls and then lift for the hover taxi before departing out to the North of Denham then heading NW over Amersham and changing frequency to Wycombe. Simon comments that my flying and radio work is much better than a "normal" 14 hour pilot and I tell him about my fixed wing experience at this point. Over to Wycombe and a nice approach in which Simon is happy with.

At one point I do an approach and Simon then asks me to land. I just touch down with the left skid but am not entirely happy with the attitude and so lift back up into the hover. Simon picks me up on this. He wants me to lower the level firmly and quickly as soon as a skid has touched. He tells me this is to reduce the chance of dynamic rollover. He takes control and puts us light on the skids and then puts the cyclic back holding the position balanced on the back of the skids. He asks me how you should recover from this and I suggest pushing the cyclic forward would stop the problem. He agrees this can work but says that a better way is just to firmly lower the lever reducing any chance of things going pear shaped. He says that at my point in training being gentle down to the touch point and then being firm in lowering the lever will keep me out of trouble and does no harm to the heli.

We do a number of different approaches and Simon is getting my final part a bit smoother with gradual and progressive input on the lever during the final 50ft through the transition back to the hover.

We start to do some steep approaches and discuss the various methods of getting into the airfield when an approach is starting out too high which go well.

We start to discuss autorotations and decide to do some of these onto the airfield from 800ft circuit height. The first one I do as Simon talks me through the flare and when to start the flare and at what point to level the ship back for the run on landing. I make an ok job but flare a bit too early and a bit too harshly. Simon wants a progressive and controlled flare.

Simon then shows me a full auto to the ground. The run on was about 2 helicopter lengths given the low wind conditions (about 5kts) but he had it well under control. It did feel to me like the nose was very low in the "run on" part of the landing, probably due to my fixed wing experience "holding off" the landing with nose raised during the landing.

We go round and I have a go with Simon controlling the engine recovery at the appropriate point. I flare a bit too high again and start to raise the lever a little bit too early (probably 10ft off the ground). Simon tells me that in a real emergency you can focus on just getting the flare right and not worrying about the level to just before the point of "crash" and that doing this you will get it down safely, a bit of a hard landing, but walk away from.

We go round again and I time the flare better this time, a nice elongated flare bleeding off the speed and then getting the heli back level about 5ft off the ground before Simon rolled the power back in. This is great for building confidence. We do another couple and I'm getting the hang of the flare height and controlling the transition back to level. We do a couple of towering takeoffs as well - all good fun.

A couple more circuits and Simon tells me that he would be happy to send me solo but we don't have the time left today and I should look to do this on my next lesson weather permitting. He tells me that 15 hours is very early for sending people solo, particularly in todays market with insurance and risk intolerance, but tells me that I am at a very high level for the hours I've done. All good Smile He tells me that I need to go back through the POH for all the emergency procedures/warning lights and that I should spend 30 minutes going through these with my instructor at the next lesson before doing a couple more circuits and all things being ok doing the first solo.

We land in area November at Wycombe and Simon gets out and dips the tanks to make sure we have enough to get back to Denham. We have 5 gallons which is enough for 30 minutes flying, Denham should take 15 minutes so we are ok.

Heading back to denham we do one more auto down to the flare and level before bringing the engine back up again and then hover over to the apron for the landing in front of the hanger.

An excellent lesson. We packed a lot into the 1.7 hours which was very intensive and the way I like it and I felt i really benefitted from Simons extensive experience, knowledge and teaching style in particular the significant amount of auto work to the last 5ft above the ground.

Unbelievably we have packed 1.7 hours into our 2 hour slot. Non stop flying with a large amount of variety does make the time fly by.

Total 16.4 hours
Solo 0.0 hours
Instrument 0.0 hours.
Exams passed - FRTOL practical, Communications written, HPL, Air Law.


Last edited by MintedMav on Fri Dec 17, 2010 4:13 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 11, 2010 6:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Saturday 11th December 2010

I am booked in again with Simon Browne again this time out of Wycombe as I want to avoid the 10-15minute transfers from Denham where possible.

The wind is blowing at about 10kts which is a little strong for solo work so Simon suggests we work on emergency procedures, circuits and finessing my flying.

We A-check "india echo" and Simon shows me the dip stick with just under 4 of oil and asks me if that is sufficient. I suggest that it is too low and that we need to fill up some more and he agrees and shows me how to add oil to the heli and where the oil is kept in the hanger.

There is 14 gallons of fuel in the heli so that is all good and we start up and head out to area November for some circuit work.

My first approach is a little untidy. I left it late to start the descent and then lowered the nose rather than lowering the lever which ended up in a bit too much speed and quite a fast descent rate. I handle the flare and the transition through to the hover but its not as clean as it could be. Simon wants me to concentrate on keeping the attitude constant and using the lever to descend. He also suggests I start to gradually bleed off the speed from 250ft ish.

Next 2-3 circuits are better and my approaches more even and controlled.

We do a few landings and take-offs and Simon again asks me to take off from the left skid as this will get me starting to be used to how far left the cyclic will be on my solo flights. I am also concentrating on my landings with a gentle descent down onto the skid(s) and then firmly lowering the lever to prevent any chance of dynamic rollover.

We do a couple of engine failure in the hover which are fairly non eventful from 3-4 ft.

Simon also shows me the loss of tail rotor in the hover and how to land that which is a bit more sporty.

We also do some run on landings. Simon tells me that lowering the lever firmly on touch down should not be done with a run on landing as you could dig the skids in at the front and flip the heli over forwards. Instead keep the lever gently lowering till it comes to a stop and then lower firmly from there.

We do some spot turns to the left and the right which were a little tricky as the wind was starting to get a bit gusty. Simon picked me up on spot turning a bit too quickly to left (it was under control but not as slow as it could have been).

At this point Simon tells me he is just a little to unsure about the wind conditions to let me do a circuit on my own so we agree to head back for a cup of tea.

Over the tea we go through all the emergency procedures again in detail and also Simon shows me the weight and balance calculations for the heli.

Back out and into the air and its short circuits with autorotations now. The first one we do all the way to the ground with me flying the whole manoevre and Simon following me through on the controls. Its difficult to know how much "help" is given on this but it felt to me like i had it all the way under control with maybe the exception of lifting the lever at the last minute. Simon reminds me that the lever at the end is the last of my worries if I do get a real engine failure when i am flying. Concentrate on getting the lever down immediately there is any indication of a problem and get the speed at 65kts. Perform as good a flare as possible and if i am lucky i will remember the "nice to haves" of not overspeeding the rotors and getting the lever up to cushion the landing at the last minute. Simon also reminds me that if I am ever not sure if there is an emergency get the lever down and then assess the situation in autorotation. You can't do it the other way round when the rotors have stopped !!

Simon then shows me an autorotation from departure (approx 350ft and 50kts) and whilst its a bit "sporty" with correct actions its perfectly safe to get us down. We also do an auto down to a field from the downwind which is a tight landing spot requiring a bit of "s-turns" and position to the very corner of the field but we would have been safely down if it had been for real.

At this point Simon says that is enough for the day and its still too windy to let me off on my own. I am booked in again tomorrow afternoon and he says he hopes I will be able to solo then.

Back in the office Simon enquires if there is a descent ballast weight we can use tomorrow as he weighs 185lbs and it will be a big change in aircraft attitude without him in it.

So fingers crossed for good weather tomorrow. Looking at the forecasts tonight its sunny with 3kt wind so looking good.




Total 18.0 hours
Solo 0.0 hours
Instrument 0.0 hours.
Exams passed - FRTOL practical, Communications written, HPL, Air Law.
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 12, 2010 4:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sunday 12th December 2010 - 1ST SOLO

The weather forecast was looking good for today with some blue skies forecast, good visibility and a light northerly wind as I arrive at HeliAir Wycombe for my afternoon lesson with Simon Browne again.

We head out into the hanger to find a ballast weight in case Simon feels that I am ready to solo.

We start the heli and head over to area November and a circuit which I pretty much nail with a nice controlled descent. Simon tells me that if I am to solo that my circuits need to be the larger heli circuit as this will give me more time to set up for the descents etc.

Down to the hover and a few practice landings and take-offs and Simon asks me to fly us back to HeliAir to pick up the ballast. Back to November again and we drop the ballast off. Simon asks me to do 5 take-offs and landings and to get each one perfect which I do (give or take). We then do some more spot turns and some downwind hovering.

Simon then starts to move the controls to displace the hover asking me to recover back to the hover each time which is all straight forward enough.

Simon asks me how I am feeling and I answer fine and he tells me that he is happy to send me solo. I land and he goes and collects the ballast which we put in the footwell on the passenger side to give as much forward CofG as possible. He removed the peddles on the passenger side to ensure the ballast didnt get in the way of any controls.

Simon briefs me on the solo which is to be a take off into a 5 ft hover and then a landing. He tells me that the cyclic will need to be a bit more forward and to the left than I am used to and to try and get a feel for it with the skids light before committing to the lift.

He leaves the aircraft and positions himself forward of me and motions to me to lift into the hover which I do quite nicely. The cyclic isnt as far too the left as I thought it might have been but its the CofG movement towards the rear that surprises me more as the cyclic was quite a bit forward of the "normal" position.

I hold a steady hover and get myself ready to land before putting it down with a nice steady descent rate and firm lever down once ive touched the skids on the ground. All good.

Simon comes up and tells me he is happy to send me round for a circuit. I lift and then go round for my first solo circuit which was a great feeling. I was concentrating on keeping my speeds and heights as tight as possible, keeping a watching eye on the instruments and my mind prepared to lower the lever in case of engine failure. I come round and make a nice smooth descent to the hover in front of simon and land to pick him up. He congratulates me on my first solo circuit and suggests we head back to HeliAir to complete the paperwork. He also comments that he liked that I came to a steady hover before landing rather than coming in nicely as I did and carrying that on into a run on landing which I could have done given the approach.

Paperwork done and Simon tells me he wants me to go and do a number of solo circuits. I fly us both over to area November before dropping Simon off and then complete 6 or 7 circuits. At one point there were 4 helicopters using area november so care was required choosing my descent path each time but no real problem.

At the designated time I see Simon coming back over and so fly over to him to collect him and return to HeliAir.

A great lesson and one that will remain in the memory. In all I managed to log 1.0 hour solo towards the 10 hour requirement for the course.

Total 19.6 hours
Solo 1.0 hour
Instrument 0.0 hours.
Exams passed - FRTOL practical, Communications written, HPL, Air Law.


Last edited by MintedMav on Mon Dec 13, 2010 1:50 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 12, 2010 8:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well done,

Out of interest what gets used as ballast ?

Gary
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 12, 2010 9:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Minted,

Bravo on going solo today (Sunday).....

I went solo for the first time yesterday and probably feel about as smug as you do right now!

Good diary by the way.

Warren
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 13, 2010 2:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well done to both of you.
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 13, 2010 9:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well batted guys - remember mine like it was yesterday....... you'll have the same feeling to savour (plus a few others) on your QCC!!!
Bravo!
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 13, 2010 1:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

veeany wrote:

Out of interest what gets used as ballast ?


Hi Gary,

We used a 20 Litre bottle of water that was an unopened water drinks dispenser bottle (like you get in most offices).

Probably weighed about 14 KG and we placed it in the footwell and removed the pedals so it couldnt cause a problem. Putting it in the footwell helped with the forward C of G a bit as well.

I dont know how much difference it made - will find out when I try without it I guess Smile

Geoff
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 09, 2011 6:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Saturday 8th Jan 2011

Its been a good few weeks since my last lesson which has been a shame as that was my first solo and it would have been good to keep building from there. However the British winter has brought much snowfall and other bad conditions so the lessons I had booked over the last couple of weeks have all been cancelled.

Today I am booked in with Mark at Denham. I really enjoyed my last lesson with Mark and found that he was willing to throw large amounts at me and I felt I really improved a lot with his tuition last time.

I arrive at Denham for the 9am lesson and have a slot booked till 12. The weather conditions are 15G25 with a broken cloud base at 1200ft which is starting to break up. We discuss my recent progress and Mark tells me that the weather is no good for solo so suggests we look at some instrument flying as it would be good to get this out of the way earlier in the course and does help improve flying accuracy if the student is able to cope with everything that has to be done.

We go and sit in an R44 for the briefing and Mark discusses the instruments, the ones i need to be focusing on, the ones I need to be bringing into my scan if I am coping with the attitude indicator and the various exercises we will be doing. We also discuss autorotation as the wind conditions are ideal for doing some autos down to the ground and Mark would like me to be able to be getting to that level.

We fuel up the R22 for a couple of hours flying and then head off out of the circuit to the North. Once out of the ATZ Mark immediately starts me on the instruments. Initially flying without the foggles on I fly with the attitude and other instruments wings level, then a rate 1 banked turn either way and then a 500ft climb and 500ft descent. I am coping well with these so Mark takes the controls and gets me to put on the foggles.

They make a bit of difference cutting out the entire top part of the periphery vision although I wasn't cheating without them on so I am able to fly reasonably accurately. Mark gets to me to fly all over the place acending, descending, turning left turning right, climbing and descending turns and over time is starts to get a bit tiring as you really have to concentrate hard. The hour is up and Mark tells me to take off the foggles and tells me that was an excellent first attempt.

He asks me where I think we are and a quick scan of the surroundings tells me we arent far from Denham. Mark shows me how to use the GPS to set a course back to Denham and we head back to the airfield for the second part of the lesson.

We auto onto the airfield and recover to the hover before going round the circuit again for a second auto, this time down to the ground which is a reasonable effort.

I lift up into the hover and Mark asks me to land again. I touch the skids down and once they have touched immediately lower the collective as Simon had shown me. Mark picks me up on this and I explain that is what Simon has taught me to ensure i was safely putting it down without rollover for going solo. Mark wants me to fly down more accurately and treat every landing as if its a sloped landing. He shows me what he wants flying down to the touch and keeping the aircraft flying while the lever is lowered progressively.

Mark asks if i have done any sloping landing work and I tell him only the bit I did with him off field at the farm on the last lesson I had with him. We head over to the south western part of Denham airfield which has quite a slope in the corner for some practice. Mark asks me which is the best way to land on a slope and I tell him facing up the slope (the answer he gave me the last time) and he agrees. We position over a reasonable slope and I touch us down on the front of the skids before lowering the lever gradually and keeping us into the slope by moving the cyclic forward. A nice landing for the first go.

Mark asks me to lift into the hover and I bring us onto the front of the skids before then lifting up a bit abruptly. Down again and then back up for a better effort. We move across the slope a bit and now we have a slope that has a right to left and top to bottom slope which is actually starting to get quite steep for a landing. I touch down with the front right skid first and keep flying as I lower the collective gradually till the left skid touches and then lower further to get the whole skid down at the back.

Coming back up into the hover is more tricky and at one point I can feel the heli starting to want to roll forward and a little to the right side. I catch it with the cyclic knowing that the collective was the next thing I was going to be lowering if it had carried on at all.

Back down onto the skids and Mark shows me how accurately I need to be with the cyclic on the lift. back down and its my go and I do a better job of getting into the hover although still with a slight temptation to lift off the ground a little early.

Mark asks me to fly over to a flat grass spot and land and I make a nice job of it after the much harder sloping work. We turn 90 degrees and land and take off, turn to downwind and land and take off and then turn to left crosswind to do the same.

Mark calls to see if we can use the runway to do the 4 quarter landing on the tarmac and we get clearance. Onto the runway and the downwind landing is a little bit shakey bouncing from left skid to right skid a little on touchdown. Mark asks me to do it again and not to worry about the sound of the skids on the concrete as it will "make a clatter" and is normal. I make a better second effort then move round the circle with good landings all the way round.

We clear the runway and head out for a circuit and Mark briefs me for a downwind autorotation. At a point he calls practice engine failure (having radiod to Denham to tell them what we are doing) and I enter autorotation and position us into a large field, flaring well for a small upslope runon landing although Mark recovers the power prior to touching down as the surface wouldnt have made for a pretty landing.

We call Denham to tell them we are climbing back out and then Mark tells me he wants an auto down to the ground onto the airfield. He will look after the radio so I can concentrate on the auto and landing. Over the field and enter autorotation and hold a nice glide, RRPM under control and a good glide set at 65Kts, ideal. I judge the flare pretty well and mark only helps increase the amount of flare I am using a bit before I level as best I can and lift the lever before touchdown for a fairly short run on landing.

Mark asks If I have done many run on landings and other than with him a few lessons back at low speed and a bit of low power setting work with Pete I havent done much. Mark gets me flying along at 30kts or so and asks me to run on the landing and then take off and then land and take off and land keeping the speed along the grass. Quite challenging but I am surprised at how well the heli handles the touching down at speed.

Mark then shows me how to turn "with the wind" and keeping airspeed to turn into a downwind taxi down for repositioning the aircraft for another run. Push forwards on the cyclic to build a bit of airspeed and then turn a bit, let the nose come round with the wind, keep the airspeed and fly downwind before turning and slowing at the other end into the hover. All good low level fun and an additional piece of handing for my tool box, before I would spot turn and then fly more slowly downwind for a reposition.

We now do a couple of runs of quick stops to work on getting the flare and level part of the auto correct and I do these well.

Next run Mark asks me to fly at 40Kts as if on departure and then make a quick stop flare, level and then run on landing with him taking the power off at a point in the flare. You can see where he is going with this !! We manage to fit in 3 along the length of the airfield and I am getting more used to this "controlled crashing" and the feeling of where level is in a heli for touchdown although I still have a slight tendency to land back of the skids first. My other slight tendency is a slight left nose drift in the flare, I have to concntrate on keeping it straight with the peddles even though Mark had taken the power off for the landing and there was no torque you still have to ensure you are completely straight. Interestingly this is a slight fault I have/had in landing fixed wing which I always assumed was because of my left seat positioning. The fact I do it from the right seat in a heli is a bit weird, something to continue to work on.

We go round for 2 more circuits with EOL autos to the ground which are pretty good efforts and have given me a lot more confidence in what I would do if the engine did go while I am solo. At this point Mark suggests that is probably enough for the lesson and I agree.

Its been another fantastic lesson. I seem to gel the best with Mark out of all the instructors I have flown with as he just keeps on pushing me breaking down the elements into manageable chunks which is excellent for the learning. Total 1.8 hours of flying with my first hour of instruments covered.

In the debrief Mark picks up on my slight left yaw tendency and asks me to focus more on this and reaffirms the collective and cyclic work for landing/take offs and to treat every landing as if its a sloped landing. He tells me this becomes more important when you are in other aircraft like the R44 where the attitude varies a lot depending on how many occupants you have in the heli.


Total 21.4 hours
Solo 1.0 hour
Instrument 1.0 hours.
Exams passed - FRTOL practical, Communications written, HPL, Air Law.


Last edited by MintedMav on Mon Jan 10, 2011 11:38 am; edited 3 times in total
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