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HeliTorque :: View topic - Have you heard your instructor talk about this? (loose hand)
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HeliTorque Forum Index » Student Pilots & Hour Builders

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Have you heard your instructor talk about this? (loose hand) Goto page 1, 2  Next
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Is the method of holding the cyclic that my instructor is talking about normal?
Yes
100%
 100%  [ 1 ]
No
0%
 0%  [ 0 ]
Voted : 1
Total Votes : 1
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ifresh21
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 15, 2011 1:54 am    Post subject: Have you heard your instructor talk about this? (loose hand) Reply with quote

Hi,
I am having an issue with my helicopter instructor. On my last (not considering today) helicopter lesson, my instructor started telling me that I am not holding the cyclic correctly.[Helicopter is Robinson R22 Beta.]

I usually have my hand in the natural holding position that the pilots hand goes to. It is the same way my instructor (and the other two instructors I have flown with) hold it as well (And this CFI http://www.youtube.com/user/michaelmiller85#p/search/18/qqHWnk2HWUU at 2:39) . However, at some point during the lesson, my instructor started telling me that I am holding it too tightly. At certain parts of the flight he started rocking the cyclic around to somehow show me that I am holding it too tight. Since I still wasn't holding it right after the first one or two times he told me, he had me hold it with my wrist cocked all the way forward and gripping the cyclic with the tips of (some of) my fingers.

I was quite surprised. That flight was my fifth hour of training and he was my day one instructor. I flew with a different instructor once. So basically, on the forth flight with him he is telling me something that he has never even mentioned before. I felt very uncomfortable performing this new holding technique, especially since he had me start it while I was in a hover. I truly lost a lot of control while doing it. I asked my 1000 hour instructor to demonstrate and he was unable to perform a stationary hover while holding the cyclic with this grip - he kept drifting right.

(I believe) The reason he said that the cyclic needs to be held with such a loose grip is because if there is turbulence or a wind gust, the aircraft will be [negatively affected]. However, when he was flying, he had a strong grip on the controls. I confirmed this physically and visually.

It seemed like he was expecting me to instantly be able to change what I had been doing for so long. I tried loosening up my grip by increasing the space between my hand and the grip but that wasn't a enough and he kept [talking to me about it].

The wind was pretty heavy that day, I believe (atleast) 20 knots or so.


I had another flight today with a 1300 hour instructor and he didn't mention anything about the grip (the less experienced instructor I flew with before didn't either). He was good to fly with but is moving away from instruction and getting into bigger helicopters (not a full time instructor unfortunately).

It is a small "school" with 3 instructors so I don't have any options. There are no other schools close enough for me to go to .



What do you guys think about this. Is it normal for instructors to [focus] so much on this? What issues actually exist with the usual way of holding the cyclic and having a secure grip.

Thanks a ton for any help. If I didn't add enough detail somewhere let me know.

Thanks again
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veeany
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 15, 2011 7:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

iFresh

Sometimes people do hold on too tight and instructors will try all kinds of things to get you to loosen your grip.

There is no need for a death grip and most experienced pilots fly with their right arm fairly relaxed, it is difficult to maintain the level of precision required with a tense arm.

As to your poll, I don't think there is a yes or no answer to your question without a photo or video of what you trying to do, even then bear in mind none of us can see the chain of thoughts that has brought your instructor to this conclusion.
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 15, 2011 7:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Without being overly critical that guys videos demonstrate a few things.

He is enthusiastic, but on some of his demos he cheats and completes the manoeuver with control inputs other than as he describes.

Whilst it may have been strapped in the BOSE headset bag on the left seat with the doors off sets a poor example.

He needs to look at what LTE is and how to recover from it.

The first video with the guy apporoaching the helicopter from the tail to the door without the pilot seeing him is in my mind unprofessional.

It is very easy to pick faults in well meaning videos posted on You Tube but I would not use this series as a learning aid.

His comments about stuff not coming from Robinson on one of his videos clearly demonstrate he does not read Lycoming publications as well, as is required by the Robinson POH.

I am sure he is a nice bloke, and I have no axe to grind with him but his videos display a worrying lack of knowledge and professionalism in my opinion (and no I do not think I know everything).
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ifresh21
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 15, 2011 3:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quick reply from my iPod:

Thank you for the quick responses. I don't think I understand how to avoid this death grip. I tried creating a cup with my hands around the cyclic so that only a portion of my hand is touching it at any one time. Is that what I am supposed to do. Or does it have to do with where I place my forearm and how inpropper placement might cause a resistance to movement? Is it something else?

I think he also mentioned that I should fly with my wrist not forearm. (arm stationary with wrist moving). Is that what other pilots do and the only truly safe way to do things? I believe that I tend to use my forearm to help me.

Is there any danger to holding it the wrong way. When it comes to precision, yesterday(while holding it how I have always done before that one flight where all of a sudden I was doing something wrong) I felt completely in control(yay!) and pick ups and setdowns were consistently good.

Thanks
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 15, 2011 5:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ifresh,

I used to hold the cyclic & collective quite tight when i was learning and my instructor did point it out to me a few times. I put this down to the initial pressure and overload that you experience during your initial hours (uptight, getting used to the behaviour of the aircraft). I am sure that i was not the first and certainly not the last to experience this.

A rigid grip compared to a loose grip can have an effect on the way the aircraft performs for example the stability in the hover with a gust of wind. With a loose grip i find that the helicopter will return to its original position quite easily but with a tight grip the tendancy is to over control.

Im sure the more experienced aviators and instructors will agree that it will come with time. I have seem many an instructor demonstrate control of the cyclic with nothing more than their thumb and index finger. Concentrate of what is being taught at this stage in training and iron simple things like cyclic grip further down the line.

Even qualified pilots still over control -

http://www.aaib.gov.uk/cms_resources.cfm?file=/Robinson%20R44%20Astro,%20G-PIDG%2009-10.pdf

LZ[/url]
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 15, 2011 5:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

all students tend to grip the shit out of the controls to start with. Dont worry the tendency will go as you start to relax. Think of the wrist v forearm like this : Try writing with your wrist off the table = difficult and not very accurate. Now rest your wrist on the table and write = easy and very precise. Try and put this into your heli flying. Although to be fair I have never taught anyone in a Robinson product with its awful cylic control ! But my method seems to have worked in 4000 hours of teaching students in 300's 500's and 341's. Just relax and enjoy it will suddenly click Very Happy
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ifresh21
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 15, 2011 8:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hughes500 wrote:
Just relax and enjoy it will suddenly click Very Happy


See I wish my instructor would have acted like that. He was being a [mean person] about it. I really didn't like that. Hes like a monopoly though right now for me.

Thanks a lot for all your detailed responses. I really appreciate that.

So now I know that,amongst other things, it is normal to hold it tight, there is a benefit in holding it loose, it is not that serious, and my instructor was rushing me.

And I learned that all in 1 day! Thanks
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 17, 2011 2:29 pm    Post subject: Grip Reply with quote

The Robinson is a bit peculiar since it has a T-bar, and inherently causes a student to grip too tight. Complicating matters, is the Robie's quick reaction to stick inputs unlike other smaller trainers like the Schweizer 300 or even the Bell 47 which are more forgiving.

Single sticks are a bit easier to deal with.

With the Robie, this seems to help students:

Put the forefinger and middle finger on the font siide of the grip, the thumb on the rear and the ring and pinky fingers below the thumb on the front side. The ring and pinky fngers really cannot exert any pressure on the grip but will steady it. The forefinger/middle finger actually are gripping the stick with the thumb securing everything together.
Hard to explain but it works.

Even in turbulent air, it works fine for me and many students.

Try it.

Regards,
AB
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 17, 2011 4:24 pm    Post subject: Re: Grip Reply with quote

afterburner wrote:
The Robinson is a bit peculiar since it has a T-bar, and inherently causes a student to grip too tight. Complicating matters, is the Robie's quick reaction to stick inputs unlike other smaller trainers like the Schweizer 300 or even the Bell 47 which are more forgiving.

Single sticks are a bit easier to deal with.

With the Robie, this seems to help students:

Put the forefinger and middle finger on the font siide of the grip, the thumb on the rear and the ring and pinky fingers below the thumb on the front side. The ring and pinky fngers really cannot exert any pressure on the grip but will steady it. The forefinger/middle finger actually are gripping the stick with the thumb securing everything together.
Hard to explain but it works.

Even in turbulent air, it works fine for me and many students.

Try it.

Regards,
AB


THAT SOUNDS LIKE WHAT HE TOLD ME!! Except he didn't go into that much detail with the fingers.

So its basically a 3 finger grip? How do you control sideways movement effectively when holding it like that? I think that is a big part of why it was so awkward and seemingly dangerous when I was in the hover. I had trouble as well
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 19, 2011 11:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I too used to have the same problem, but like others have previously mentioned it will come when you don't feel so overloded. I also used to (fight myself) on the anti torque pedals by being tense in the leg, I sometimes still have to remind myself especially when flying in stronger winds to relax my legs to be able to respond quickly with changing wind vectors.
Sometimes in the hover all that is needed is a (pressure) rather than a movement and the smaller your inputs on the cyclic control the less work you have do do adjusting the others.
I hope this helps, there will be a few obstacles along the way as there is with all things new, but just remember to enjoy the rest of your training and stick with it, it's worth every penny.
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 19, 2011 1:13 pm    Post subject: Re: Grip Reply with quote

Quote:
="ifresh21...........THAT SOUNDS LIKE WHAT HE TOLD ME!! Except he didn't go into that much detail with the fingers.

Maybe he should have explained it a bit more for you to understand how easy it is to use.
Quote:
So its basically a 3 finger grip? How do you control sideways movement effectively when holding it like that? I think that is a big part of why it was so awkward and seemingly dangerous when I was in the hover. I had trouble as well

Yes, 3 fingers control the stick whether a T bar or straight stick. It is not difficult at all to control sideways movement holding it that way once you feel confident and comfortable. If ANY movement of the helicopter becomes excessive, you can always shift the ring and forefingers forward around the grip so that 4 fingers are on it. The only time I have found this necessary is in very choppy air so that my hand does not 'bounce' off the grip in flight.

You'll get it. It takes time and concentration. It is a normal reaction for students to tighten up on the stick. It is their lifeline and they don't want to let it go. Smile

Regards,
AB
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 19, 2011 4:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

paddywak wrote:
just remember to enjoy the rest of your training and stick with it, it's worth every penny.


Yeah. I can't forget to enjoy it. Tough when you have to deal with certain people though. I am hoping for the best on my next flight



Afterburner: So the point of holding it like that is still to keep it steady during potential turbulence, right?

Why do so many people not hold it like that? In videos and stuff (and my instructors) people use a complete, baseball bat style grip.

I am not challenging you, just making sure I fully understand the difference. It is a very significant change.

You have any pics of that grip by the way?
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 19, 2011 5:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was told (and keep getting told Very Happy ) to use a light grip. When you hold it tight it takes you longer to make an input and it will be less smooth. Holding it gingerly with thumb and forefingers forces you out of the death grip Smile

I imagine that when you see your instructor with a full baseball bat style grip they are actually holding it very light where you may be holding it in a more "White Knuckle" style, plus they need to be prepared to force you out of a manoeuver.
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 19, 2011 8:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was told by my first instructor to rest my right arm on my right leg and hold the cyclic gently, the T bar means you can bring the cross bar down to you rather than you having to go to the stick.

The R22 is very twitchy (so I have been told having never flown anything else), so you have to be gentle with the cyclic, fly with your fingers rather than your arm.

If you tense up you can feel this through your control inputs.

In turbulence avoid harsh control inputs, relax and let the machine go with it. If you use harsh control inputs you risk mast bumping and tail cone chopping.
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 19, 2011 9:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A good one I was told is to hold the stick like a turd wrapped in tissue paper
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