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HeliTorque Forum Index » Student Pilots & Hour Builders

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R44 Conversion Diary
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MintedMav
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 08, 2011 12:05 pm    Post subject: R44 Conversion Diary Reply with quote

Sunday 7th August 2011

So following the completion of my PPL(h) (see separate diary) I received my nice shiny new licence at the end of July from the CAA and am now embarking on the R44 conversion course which starts today.

I have invested with 9 others in a share in an R44 called G-NIOG (spells "GOING" backwards) which is based out of Denham. The aircraft, being a clipper, has emergency pop out floats for landing on water which will be handy for the helilanes along the river in london and also for any trips we may plan over to France etc. Being a clipper 2 it has a fuel injected engine which has the main advantage of removing the need to remember carb heat but also means the all up weight is 2,500lbs. From a safety point of view the higher inertia rotor system adds safety margin in the event of an engine failure both for getting the lever down and also for the greater margin of error in the flare/ground contact phase. Obviously it also has the advantage of taking 4 people in relative comfort and a cruise of 110kts +.

One of my fellow sharers, Dave, is also doing the course with me and we have booked an instructor from HeliAir for the day called Andy Young. We both arrive promptly at 9am for the day with a forecast weather that includes heavy rain showers in the afternoon and some possible thunderstorms.

Andy spends the first hour taking us through all the R44 systems and highlighting the main differences between this and our training aircraft. I trained in the R22 so the differences are small but Dave learned on a Schweizer 300 so there are quite a few differences for him to get to grips with including different cockpit layouts, different tachometers, a teetering 2 blade rather than 3 blade rotor system, a governer among other differences.

The main differences for me are the inclusion of hydraulic controls which remove the need for a trim on the cyclic and the removal of the need for carb heat control due to the fuel injection system. Andy tells me the main difference I will feel compared to the R22 is the very large additional power available which is all good and will really help in confined landings.

After the initial overview of all the systems we go out and do a full A-check of the aircraft. Again this is not that different to the R22 so most of it makes sense to me although Dave has more to learn and remember. G-NIOG had replacement blades fitted as we bought it so we are not subject to the current AD on blades and the daily checks that are required to check for possible delamination of the blades which is good news. Andy also shows us where the safety pin is on the compressed air canister for the floats and how the floats would be deployed once armed in the event of an emergency landing over water.

We fill G-NIOG up to the top as we are only going to be 3 up and then fill out the paperwork for our first sortie which I will be flying with Dave in the back.

I take the seat in NIOG and check over the panel and the controls and pull out the checklist. Its pretty similar to the R22 for most of it - main differences being the position of the mixture control, our GPS being low down rather than at the top, no carb heat, the fuel cut off down between the seats, the datcon on the main console and no trim control. My pilot collective has the activation system for the floats as well as the starter button and I have another starter button on the cyclic for in air re-starts.

I work down the checklist to the point of starting the engine which is exactly the same as the R22. The controls feel very heavy though for the "full and free" check and this is because the hydraulics are not on at this point. If that is what they are like with hydraulics off that is going to be an interesting lesson !

Starting the engine is a bit more complicated though than the R22. From memory it is roughly as follows... Throttle closed (this is very important as for the R22 - it must be fully closed as even open slightly could cause an engine overspeed on start up which is an expensive mistake. Andy recommends rolling into the override and back just to double check it is closed for sure). Mixture to full rich and turn key to "prime" for 6 seconds (as this is the first flight of the day) then back to "both". You then pull the mixture back out, press and hold the starter and then steadily push in the mixture till the engine catches, then continue to push to full rich, put on the mixture guard, check the starter light is out, apply 50-60% engine RPM, then engage the clutch, turn on the alternator and check oil pressure is >25psi within 30 seconds. This needs to be committed to memory as it all has to happen smoothly and quickly.

The oil pressure on NIOG is at the top end of the yellow so we keep an eye on that as we progress. The next part of the checklist is as per the R22 with headsets on, avionics on, wait for clutch light to go out and then set warm up revs of 60-70%. There is no warning orange band as there is in the R22 as apparently resonance is less of an issue for the R44. Mag drop check and back to idle, alternator check, and sprag clutch check. At this point there is then a hydraulics check which is new for me. The oil pressure is now down in the green so its the final check of the warning horn and we are then ready for lift.

Andy makes the radio call for me requesting some hovering which is denied as its Sunday and Denham doesn't allow hover training on Saturday afternoons or Sunday's (Andy is a new instructor been with HeliAir for 2 weeks having previously been at Fast helicopters on the south coast). No bother we will do what we can.

I advise Andy to be ready on the controls just in case and then I lift us up and with a little wobble get us up into a stable hover. The wind is 10kts gusting to 15kts so its a little bit challenging but I have it under control with a cross wind from the right hand side. Its my first time at the controls of an R44 so the hover and hover taxi has minor wobbles and I find that there is less feel on the cyclic from the hydraulics than the R22. I fly us over to the departure area and we have to wait for a plane to take off so take advantage of this hover time to do a couple of spot turns which are fine although it takes quite a bit of left peddle to get the aircraft yawing left compared to the R22. We then depart and the aircraft very quickly accelerates to 40kts and gains height at nearly 1000ft per minute with 3 fairly heavy adult men on board and full fuel. Pretty impressive stuff.

I have to keep a close eye on our altitude as we turn out west for the St Giles route out of Denham given our rate of climb and level us out at 900ft and 100kts which is noticably faster than the R22. We are quickly out over Amersham and I make the radio call back to Denham as Andy hasn't done it telling them we are leaving to the west and will call on rejoin.

The area is new to Dave having learned out in Gloucester so Andy and I point out various landmarks for him to start to get used to the local area while I also concentrate on flying a straight and level path which seems to be easier on the 44 than the 22. I climb us up to 2000ft which is quickly achieved and within a few minutes we are out over the Aylesbury area.

Andy gets me to do a number of autorotations. He ask if I want a demonstration first but I am happy to dive straight in so practice 123 go and I lower collective, combining a gradual rear cyclic and some right peddle and teh aircraft quickly settles into a nice stable auto. I slow us down to 70kts and control the Rotors no problem taking us down to around 500ft before Andy rejoins the needles and asks me to recover. No problems there.

Next one is a max range with 90% Rotor RPM and 90 Kts which goes well with me gradually bringing back the Rotor RPM below the horn and down to 90%. Next we do a "constant aspect" auto which I havent heard of before but is basically a 40kt auto. It takes a while to get the speed back down as low as 40 from the cruise of 100kts + and you have to watch you dont unload the disc too much as you slow down but its easy enough. We go back round and do another one this time slowing down to zero airspeed which shows the corresponding increase in descent rate. The last one we do is with a turn.

Next up is Vortex Ring demonstration at 2000ft. I bring us into a hover at zero airspeed which means we are actually moving backwards a bit looking at the ground. Lowering power to establish a descent I wait for the incipient stage which is actually quite hard to detect (assuming the aircraft did indeed go into it). Andy asks me to recover and I push the nose forward to gain airspeed which gradually picks up to 50kts before I apply some power and recover. It was weird as the first part of the nose down accelerate away actually had no ground speed so I am stationary over the ground in a nose down attitude with airspeed increasing which is an unusual sensation. Andy is happy with the demonstration. There is a big storm off to the South of us so at this point we decide to head back to Denham to be sure we are clear of the storm which is heading that way. I fly us back at 110kts which doesnt take long before making the radio calls and bringing us into the descent. Andy warns me that the aircraft has more inertia than the 22 and I may find it more difficult to bring it to a stop within my usual expected run out but its not too bad (its much harder 2 up with lower fuel on my next lesson see later in this diary).

The wind has picked up and is now a good 15 kts ahead of the storm coming our way. I demonstrate the hover into wind and then make a spot turn and demonstrate a downwind hover which is nicely under control. I then turn to the left for a left crosswind hover and this is immediately quite challenging in comparison. Andy tells me I have a challenging cross wind hover taxi back to heli air now and he isnt joking. I gain a bit of height as I work to control the yawing of the aircraft and combining this with the cyclic. It's not what you would call "pretty" and Dave in the back gives a couple of exclamations with a couple of the yaws but Andy is happy it is under control and I am making the necessary recoveries each time and he doesnt feel the need to take the controls off me at any point. I would say its probably on a par with trying to hover taxi crosswind in the 22 as what you gain in aircraft mass (which helps stability) seems to be offset by a larger tail that catches the wind and the tail rotor didnt seem quite so responsive either.

As we get near the hanger I turn into wind and the hover immediately settles down into a nice steady hover. I then hover taxi us sideways towards the concrete apron. As I do I check with Dave that the tail is clear of the heli parked behind us. He confirms it is and I do a quick double check before positioning us over the concrete and making my first 44 landing which goes better than I could have expected. One of my better landings by some margin.

The shutdown is the same as in the 22. Dave says that engineering have advised him to warm down for 2 minutes before disengaging the clutch to look after the engine rather than just waiting for the drop in CHT which I follow. Its our aircraft so happy to spend a bit of extra time shutting it down if that helps preserve it from problems. Total rotor start to stop time was just over 60 minutes with a 0.8 recorded on the Datcon. How nice it is to have a Datcon that doesnt include start up adn shut down in its hourly calculation.

Feedback from Andy was all positive. He can tell that I have only just finished my PPL as am still very current with my flying skills and exercises despite not having flown a 44 before or flown for over 5 weeks.

During the feedback Andy gives me a useful tip on Vortex Ring State. He said my recovery was fine accelerating through to 50-60 kts and then applying power. He said that is often the way it is taught. However he says applying power at around 40kts gets the recovery away earlier and leads to less loss of height which is a good point well made.

Total Time 1.0 hours


Last edited by MintedMav on Sun Sep 04, 2011 11:07 am; edited 4 times in total
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 08, 2011 2:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sunday 7th August - Part 2

Dave has his first hour which I won't document but goes well also.

It is now 3.45pm and Andy says we have time for a 40 minute sortie which will allow us to complete the rest of the lesson 1 plan assuming my flying is up to scratch. We will cover PFLs, steep turns of 30 degrees and 45 degrees and try and get in the backwards hovering we didnt complete in the last lesson.

Out to the aircraft we check the fuel and the oil which is sufficient for this flight. Dave isn't going in the back this time as he had to head off so I get to fly two up and with quite a bit less fuel than the first lesson.

Out to the aircraft and through the starting process. I have a bit of difficulty starting the still warm aircraft and it took a while to catch. It turns out that a hot feul injected R44 in the Summer has a bit of an issue with starting caused by heat in the engine compartment causing fuel in the lines to vaporise. Thus there is some advice on how to start it "hot" as follows:-

1. Pull the mixture control knob full out to the idle cut-off position

2. With the master switch on, activate the auxiliary fuel pump by turning the ignition switch to "prime" and holding for 20-30 seconds. Since the mixture is at idle cut-off, the aux fuel pump will draw cooler fuel from the main fuel tank and pump the hot fuel in the lines through the fuel return line back into the fuel tank instead of into the engine.

3. Proceed with the normal starting procedure using a normal prime with the mixture full rich.

I complete the check list and am pleased to see the wind has dropped to about 5 kts now. I lift into a nice hover and the hover taxi is as steady as could be... good news from a mixture of being a bit more used to the aircraft, a bit more in practice and better wind conditions.

We head out towards Aylesbury again and on the way Andy asks me to fly up to the VNE. He asks me to accelerate as fast as I can until I either reach the max continuous power rate or reach the VNE of 130kts. The aircraft stabilises around 120kts with 23 inches but there is noticably more vibration than 110kts and the extra speed gained is probably not worth the decrease in ride comfort for most flights.

Out over Aylesbury and a quick HASELL check and its time for a couple of PFLs. Both go extremely well (if I do say so myself) although Andy warns against decreasing airspeed if at all possible preferring S turns instead to get into the chosen field as if you slow down you have to speed back up again before you reach 300ft AGL which is fine as long as you remember. With S-turns you keep a steady glide and airspeed and rotor RPM compared to increased rotor control work varying speeds. On my first PFL I change from my first chosen field when it is obvious I am going to glide over it (the 44 glides better than the 22 which catches me a bit) but Andy is pleased to see me being flexible rather than forcing myself into the first one and messing it up when another perfectly good field was ahead. The second we set up downwind so I have to turn into wind into my chosen field and I select more accurately based on the glide path now as well as controlling the Rotor RPM in the turn and its a fairly simple descent down to recovery height.

Next up is steep turns. 30 degrees to the left and all the way round 360 degrees which goes well. Repeat round the the right which also goes well.

Now its onto 45 degrees. First round to the left and I add power at about the right time and maintain a good steady altitude with only minor corrections as we go round. We then do this to the right and it is noticably more difficult. At this angle the top of the door is starting to obscure my sidewards vision so its harder to guage where to look as I go round not to mention I am on the lower side of the aircraft now so the ground is more prominent and this makes it much harder to keep my height accurate and I move from a 300 ft descent rate to a 300ft climb rate before stabilising. As it happens when I am fully round its at the same height as I started more from luck than judgement. Andy gets me to do it again and this time I make a better job of it although it is still a little bit up and down. I didnt do much steep turn work on my PPL(h) course so this isn't one of my better flying skills.

At this point there is a large storm off to the South of us which looks to be coming our way so we head back to Denham. Its noticably more slippery to stop the aircraft on the final descent and hover transition with us being so much lighter. At one point in the descent I have the collective almost all the way down and Andy tells me I need to try and keep it above 10inches of power otherwise the sprag clutch will be putting us into auto-rotation. This wasnt an issue I had in the 22 in training. Easy enough to elongate the descent path a bit as we are into a nice big airfield but would need some more careful management into confined or smaller areas. I am looking forward to that part of the conversion as confined areas could always do with some extra tuition.

I hover taxi us back to heliair with a cross wind from the left again but either the wind is less or I have it more under control or both as its a nice steady return back. As we get near heliair I ask to hover taxi backwards into the concrete apron so we can tick off the hovering backwards part of the course. I bring us up to a higher hover and make a clearing turn and Andy reminds me to "go backwards very slowly" which I duly do until we are over the concrete and I bring us down for an acceptable landing.

No sooner are we down on the ground than the rain starts heavily and Andy heads off to get his coat while I shut down the machine and we then get the aircraft safely back into the hanger.

Andy is happy again with my flying and I will be focusing on some more advanced handling next week with sloping ground, emergencies, ground autos etc.

Overall reflecting back on the day flying the 44 isnt a whole lot different to flying the 22. Its faster so the ground moves under you quicker but the controls and handling are very much the same. The conversion course so far has just been a repeat of the skills I have been learning in the basic PPL rather than what I would have expected a conversion course to be. I was expecting it to be much more focused on the key differences between the aircraft rather than more generic flying training... maybe that is to come.

An addition 50 minutes flown so am now 1hr 50 minutes into the course.
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 13, 2011 5:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Saturday 13th August

I am booked in with John Pountney from 9am to 12.30am and Dave is with me again. Dave has booked John for the rest of the day as well but the plan is for him to fly some of the morning as well to take advantage of the Denham 9am to 1pm circuits/hovering allowance.

I arrive at about 8.40am so I can preflight the aircraft. It needs some oil which I get one of the guys from Heliair to do for me but other than that everything is all fine with aircraft.

I haven't flown with John before as he only part time teaches at HeliAir with his day job being an off shore oil pilot flying the twin Augusta Westland 12 seater jobbies which he says are the best helicopters in the world.

We discuss Dave and my previous helicopter hours/experience as well as last weeks efforts. Andy is around as well so John has a quick chat with him as well to confirm where we are at and things to do next. We both ask that we maximise our flying time today as we spent quite a lot of time on the ground last week and I cheekily suggest changeovers with rotors running and John says "he is keen isnt he" as a response but agrees to the request.

We fill up G-NIOG and Dave hops into the back for the first sortie. I start her up and the engine starts nice and easily although I do find it a bit tricky to tell when the engine has caught - maybe our Bose noise cancelling headphones are taking too much of the sound away. Must ask about that tomorrow. Checks complete and I make the radio calls to Denham for circuits.

I lift into the hover and taxi us over for departure next to 24 with the plan for me to fly a circuit so John can assess my flying. Up into the circuit and I am finding NIOG is once again wanting to accelerate away in the climb and I must work harder to hold a 60 kt climb rather than letting it drift to 70kts+. The same story in my final approach where I keep a bit too much airspeed on which is fine on this big airfield as there is plenty of room but it could have been a bit more elegent.

The next circuit we do some limited power work with a cushion creep take off followed by a limited power descent and run on landing. I need to be a bit more pushy with the forward cyclic on my "creep" to build airspeed a bit faster but its a pretty good effort other than that.

Next round and its a hydraulics failure and BOY IS THIS HARD WORK. We run through the checks to be done if you find yourself in this position (check the circuit breaker and check you haven't switched the switch on the cyclic by mistake) and then its the emergency flying and landing procedure. Just flying straight and level requires a significant effort pulling up on the collective and pushing forward on the cyclic and its a lot of effort and I lose about 50-100 ft as I fly downwind and base leg. Turning onto final and making a descent seems to improve the controls a little but you still wouldnt have a chance trying to hover this thing with hydraulics off. We are going to fly down and then float along for a running landing which we do. Its hard muscular work and takes a lot of concentration but the running landing is reasonably straightforward as long as you dont rush anything and just let the aircraft gradually settle onto the skids as you fly it along. Not dissimilar to a fixed wing roundout and "float" although the attitude is level in a heli of course.

Next circuit round we do a governer off failure with a landing. Next one is a towering take off. I mess up the first effort a bit as we are in the middle of a wide open airfield so its kind of hard to judge forward movement. Its easier with a tree in front of you rather than imagining one there. Anyway I creep forward a bit when supposed to be rising vertically and then as the VSI reduces don't transfer positively enough into forward flight. John takes over the controls and brings us back into the hover and explains what he wants before showing me and then bringing us back into the hover. My next effort is still not perfect but is a much better effort. As we head round the circuit John asks me what sort of approach I would like to do and I ask to do a steep approach.

In the approach I am concerned with focusing on ensuring my rate of descent and airspeed dont fall into the vortex ring danger zone. I slightly overshoot the denham circle as I dont bleed the airspeed off below 30kts when my rate of descent was 300-400ft per minute. John suggests I could have added power to reduce the rate of descent and then bleed off the airspeed to 20kts or lower to bring us down into the circle which was a tactic I hadnt considered but makes perfect sense.

We go round for another go and I make it easier for myself anyway by getting the descent path at 30-40kts more accurate but practice slowing below 30kts and increasing collective to keep rate of descent below 300ft per minute which does move the circle further up the screen. All good practice and experience for confined area work to come. The descent in the R44 is a lot more slippery than the R22.

We do one more cushion creep take off and circuit with another hydraulics off exercise so I can get used to flying with them off in the circuit but we turn them back on before turning final. Normal descent down and I fly back to heliAir for the changeover for Dave's go and I hop in the back.

Dave does his 1.2 hours which includes a load of hovering work, a bit of circuits and some PFLs out over the Aylesbury area before returning to Denham.

We switchover again for my sloping ground work. John is less than impressed with the Steepness of the sloping ground in the corner at Denham but its as good as we have and there is still quite a large amount of cyclic deflection on each of them. I do 3 landings on the sloping ground with nose up the slope then across the slope both ways. We then head up into the Denham circle to do quadrant landing and take offs crosswind and downwind. I also fly the nose round the circle in the hover which is quite an interesting exercise and one I havent done before. John says its harder backwards but its getting close to 12.30 and I have to head off for the Fulham Villa game so I fly us back over to HeliAir for the shutdown.

A total of 1.0 hours on the datcon for me and Dave had 1.2 hours so John had a good mornings work of around 2.3-2.4 hours continuous teaching. We are hard task masters Smile

So thats 2 hrs 50 minutes for me into the course.

Not sure what else there is to cover. We haven't done autos to the ground yet or confined area work but other than that its been a whistle stop tour through the PPL(h) exercises.


Last edited by MintedMav on Sun Sep 04, 2011 11:09 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 14, 2011 8:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

IMHO I'd ask (presuming it isn't suggested or hasn't yet been covered), that you do a sortie with just you and the instructor (no pax) and full fuel, and another with full pax and little fuel. Big changes in CoG is a significant difference between 22 and 44 as the pax are infront of the mast and the fuel is behind. It'll give you exposure to the differing hovering attitudes you're likely to encounter (nose lower and nose higher), which are relevant when you T/O and land. More than 1 44 has been damaged when the change in attitude is wrongly believed to be actual aircraft movement over the ground.

Hyds off is an 'art form', with practice you will be able to hover etc etc without issue.
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 15, 2011 10:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ah yes good point flingingwings. I have flown the two up full fuel one already. Not tried the 4 in low fuel one though which would be useful of course.
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 15, 2011 11:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sunday 14th August

I am booked in for the 3-5pm slot with Andy Young for the next part of my conversion course. He asks what we did in the last lesson and I talk him through all that we covered. He checks this against the student record and concurs and asks me what I would like to focus on given we can't do on airfield work at Denham on a Sunday.

I suggest we focus on confined areas as this is something that I was picked up on a bit in my PPL skills test and some more practice would be very useful. Andy gives me a very thorough 30 minute briefing to ensure I have a full understanding of what is required with particular focus on how to avoid some common problems that PPL pilots find themselves in trying to get into confined areas.

I ask about the approach path that should be used for confined areas and whether a steep approach should be chosen more often than not. Andy is of the opinion that a steep approach is only required when it is required and that if you can make a normal approach then that should be used whereever possible.

We discuss the power limitations and the power check for landing. Andy is of the view that a PPL should be looking for the "magic 7 inches" of available power for most sites. For the take-off hover check the number required is 2 inches of available power for full vertical take off. Andy says that a good check once you have worked out the available power is to then double check that full power is available by dialling in that power setting. At higher density altitudes you could run out of available pitch and get blade stalling and so the max power you thought you had may not actually be available.

The usual checks and we depart out over to the Aylesbury area to select our first target landing site. Andy picks a reasonably long field which is long into wind (handy) for my first one. I start the reckie at 1500ft and circle the site as I am descending looking for the best route in, checking no wires or other hazards, considering my route out if I bail on approach etc. I am flying at around 60kts on the reckies and then slow us down to about 40 kts as I descent downwind but I turn in a bit too quickly (rather than extending the downwind) and so the approach is a bit rushed for Andy's liking although I have assessed it reasonably well and get down towards the field before Andy asks me for my go/no go decision which is a go and he then asks me to recover back to 1500ft. He feedsback that I need to give myself more time as a PPL by stretching out the downwind and giving myself a nice long gradual final approach.

We head off to find another field for the next target to try and keep our noise down to manageable chunks in each area.

The next field has a large treed area downwind of it so I plan an approach that comes in to the side of the trees before turning over the field into wind for the final landing. I do a nice reckie but again I start to turn for base leg too early. Andy takes over the controls and shows me exactly where he expects me to be before turning onto base/final approach which is basically quite a bit further out and a bit higher than I was. I take over again and follow his example which does indeed make the approach that much easier. As we are in the final part of the descent I am happy that I am going to get in and give my go decision and we recover back to 1200 ft without completing the last part of the approach.

For the 3rd one Andy chooses a nice long field but the long part is not pointing into wind. There are nice fields all around though so a nice long normal approach can be made to the landing spot and Andy asks me to focus on a small part of that field in front of some trees. A couple of orbits to check I am happy with the approach and that there is nothing in the field to cause us any issues and then make the downwind leg extending it out before turning and making the approach. Its a good approach and I pretty much nail the landing spot Andy had asked for me bringing it into a nice hover in front of the trees.

We do a hover power check and there are 3 inches available which gives full vertical performance. I am to do a towering take off up and over the trees in front of me and Andy reminds me to wait till I am a good 30ft above the tree line before transitioning into forward flight. Quick check of the ts and ps etc and then up we go clearly the tree line in seconds before transitioning forward and accelerating away.

We head back towards Denham and Andy checks my emergency knowledge. First emergency is some blue smoke appearing from around the central dash area in the cabin. I can't quite remember the exact actions in the POH so suggest that I would turn off all non essential equipment, consider handing him the fire extinguisher, open the vents for some fresh air and descent down for an immediate landing. Andy is happy with my answer but tells me that the book says you should also turn off the alternator and the master battery switch. He warns though that the low rotor horn does not now work and neither does the governer and tells me that the headset will also be off so the sounds will be off. He then proceeds to turn off both the switches to show me the change in noise levels and what to expect. After a few seconds he turns them back on and its back to normal.

He then asks me about the clutch light coming on. I give the 7-8 seconds answer, pull the circuit breaker and then land immediately answer and he says "go on then land immediately" which was interesting as I have never had to select a field and land immediately for such an exercise before. I select a field below than looks flat but does have some trees at the front of it on my approach. There is another field to the right of it that looks better but as I am descending this one has too big a slope so I revert back to my first choice. I am into wind and making approach at c 900ft when Andy then gives me an engine failure (simulating the belts now snapping) and I put it into autorotation and fly that down for the next couple of hundred feet before he asks me to recover back to 1500ft under power. A very useful emergency exercise.

Back towards Denham we fly with the governer off for a bit which in the cruise is a non event as the correlator does enough for small changes.

Its then into the Denham circuit and back to base for a quick debrief.

Total time 1.0hr on the Datcon so that is 3hours 50 minutes of the conversion completed.


Last edited by MintedMav on Fri Sep 09, 2011 7:06 pm; edited 1 time in total
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MintedMav
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 02, 2011 2:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sunday 20th August

Dave and I have booked in with Steve George for a 9am to 1pm lesson over at Wycombe this time so we can make use of the airfield.

I ask Steve a question about activating the cyclic balance spring to see if he knows what the manual is referring to and he takes us out to the aircraft to show me. Basically when you are doing your pre flight checks you want the arm of the cyclic to be weighted such that the handle is up in the air and not on your lap. When you have the left hand dual control in this gives the weight to lift the pilots cyclic up and out of the way. When you take this out though you can wind the cyclic over the top (thats the best way I can describe it) which activates a spring that weights the cyclic so that when you let go of it it lifts up out of your lap. Note there is a little clip under the centre arm of the cyclic that you push in (similar to the clips you press to remove the peddles) that allows you to wind the cylic over the top.

Dave is first up and spends an hour or so working on take-offs and landings to get them really smooth and controlled.

Come about 11.30am I take to the controls having loaded the aircraft with a volunteer I have brought along with me so that I can get some practice flying with the aircraft heavy as well as light. We only have about 20 gallons of fuel which will also has the effect of moving the COG forward.

Steve asks how my limited power work is but even at close to max weight and on a relatively warm summers day there is enough power for normal operation.

My first lift is really nice and I can tell that I have learned a lot from watching Daves' efforts in the previous hour. I get the aircraft light on the skids, centre the cyclic and then very slowly lift up into a low hover in the ground cushion before then coming up to about a 3 ft hover.

I haven't flown with Steve before so he asks me to fly a circuit which I duly do bringing us round with a nice smooth descent and into the hover. We do a couple of lift and lands and he is happy that they are good. Once again I notice they have improved quite a bit from my efforts in previous lessons having benefitted from listening to the instruction Dave was getting and seeing his efforts. In particular on landing knowing there is a second ground cushion about 6 inches off the deck and keeping the aircraft moving down through this cushion without getting into a "wobble" to touchdown with smooth gradual lowering of the collective.

We head out of the circuit for some foggle work and spend about 10-15 minutes under the foggles. I am still pretty recent and do a good job of maintaining heading, climbing and descending with turns onto headings etc. At one point Dave spots an aircraft on a collision heading with us and Steve takes over the controls to take the required avoiding action. This puts the aircraft in an unusual attitude and Steve hands the controls back to me in the unusual attitude to see how I cope and I run through the WASP (Wings level, attitude, speed, power) to get it back to a nice strraight and level flight path. Steve is happy my foggles work is good and I can take them off.

Back to Wycombe and we head over to the edge of area November for some more slope landings work as Dave has helpfully told Steve that my slope landings at Denham were a bit too easy !!

Steve picks the slope and asks me to land and seeing as he hasnt said which way to land I choose to take a crosswind from the right and land nose up the slope. This is no problem not least because the wind has dropped to only about 5 kts if that so the crosswind isnt exactly challenging.

Back into the hover and Steve asks me to turn and land right skid up the slope. Sideways landings on slopes isnt something I had spent much time on at all in my PPL course as we focused on nose up landings for most of them. We are downwind but the wind is light so this isnt causing too much of an issue and I bring us down onto the right skid. During the gradual lowering of the collective with appropriate cyclic up the slope we get a bit of left yaw which Steve points out and says I ahve to be very careful of that in sloped landings as the tail is moving into the slope and there is a much greater risk of a tail strike. A good point well made. Anyway yaw corrected and I bring us down onto both skids and then centre the cyclic when happy we arent sliding anywhere.

On the lift back up I dont "lock in" the right skid to the hill very well and hence we are a bit wobbly. Steve takes over and shows me what he wants to see and my second effort is much better. Once we are in the air Steve suggests that it is often a good idea to sideways hover away from the slope which also makes sense. He shows me how he would do it with a nice positive lift and once in the air immediately fly off sideways for maybe 5 ft and then regaining the hover again. I have a go no problems.

We head into the circuit to bring us round for some auto practice with a power recovery to the hover at the end. 3,2,1 go and I make the entry into autorotation and control the RRPM as we make our descent. Given we are close to max weight we are dropping at a fair old rate and a quick glance at the vertical speed indicator shows we are around 2000ft per minute. I enter the flare at about the right height but I am used to an R22 flare and the R44 is a much bigger machine so the flare isnt tight enough and hence I havent bled off enough airspeed so as I level we still have more forward speed than is ideal. Steve tells me i need to be much more positive in the flare and so we go round for the next go.

123 go and enter the auto. We entered a bit earlier than the first go so we are much nearer the edge of the airfield and I check that Steve is happy we will have tail clearance over the hedge that surrounds area november. Steve says there is plenty. Its hard to judge without much experience but we had about 30ft of clearance Steve tells me afterwards. Just goes to show that whilst in theory you can land a heli on a piece of grass the size of a tennis court in practice that is very difficult to judge especially if there is any sort of obstacle that needs to be cleared on the approach. Anyway this time I make a better job of the flare and kill off most of the forward speed. We still have a bit though so Steve asks me to carry it through to a run on landing which we do.

3rd time round and I am getting better at judging the flare and 4th time round Steve is happy that it is up to the required standard. Still room for improvement of course and we will probably do 2 or 3 to the ground on the actual test which will give me some more practice.

The last couple of things to cover so that I will have completed the course are engine failure during hover taxi and the hover.

We do the hover taxi failure first which is a pretty straight forward run on landing. As we have floats attached to NIOG we choose a nice flat piece of grass and hover taxi at walking pace. All goes ok although I was a bit early on the collective which meant the low rotor horn came on just before touch down. Steve tells me to wait for the skids to touch before trying to cushion too much as you don't want to lose rotor RPM 5ft up in the air if you can help it.

We hover backwards for a bit of practice for the next go and I get the timing on the collective better this time. All good.

Final thing is engine failure in the hover. Steve demonstrates what he wants first which looks much more straight forward than in the R22 and then I have a go. For some reason on my first effort I subconsciously moved the cyclic to the left which meant we had a wobble before touching down which wasnt ideal. I also had cushioned a fraction early. The second go corrects both of these errors and it is a lot easier when you get it right than in the R22.. I have one more go just to make sure I have the hang of it which is also fine.

Steve suggests that we are all done and so I fly us back to HeliAir for shut down.

1hr 12 minutes in total and Steve tells me that from what he has seen he is happy for me to sit the test so happy days.

Total course time 5hrs 2 minutes.

Note - My test is booked for 9am Tuesday 13th September. Whilst the instructors are happy that I am ready I have decided to take another hour or two of instruction on Saturday 3rd September just to keep my flying skills up as otherwise there would have been a 3 week gap between flying which isn't ideal. My plan is to do some more work on confined areas, hydraulics off emergencies and maybe autos onto the airfield.
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 04, 2011 11:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Saturday 3rd September

Dave and I have booked NIOG for the day and John Pountney as our Instructor. Dave has a few things to finish off from the course so he will do more of the flying today and I am planning on an hour or two to cover Emergencies, Hydraulics off practice, confined areas and maybe autos to the ground. We also both want to get the written exam for the conversion completed. It turns out this is actually an open book exam which makes life a whole lot easier as I had been gemming up thinking I needed to be able to do it all from memory.

We discuss our respective requirements for the day with John. John tells me he is an examiner so its a shame that I have flown with him already as otherwise I could have done the test with him that day. He suggests that I do a practice test instead which sounds like a good plan.

Dave does an hour on the Datcon and we then change over with Rotors running. I complete the check lists and radio for lift and departure from our location at heliair as there is a queue of fixed wings over on the normal helitaxi area. Accelerating forwards and then turning right to track the runway we depart and head out over St Giles towards the Aylesbury area.

On the way John gets me to do some climbing and descending turns onto headings and then some steep 360 degree turns to the left and right. Incidentally my turn to the left this time wasn't as good as my turn to the right which was the exact opposite of a couple of weeks ago. The altitude change is less than 100ft but it was a bit up and down as I try to make the required pitch adjustment and over cook it slightly each time.

Next up is some foggles work. A bit of straight and level, some turns left and right onto headings and the 180 degree turn to simulate getting out of an inadvertant entry into cloud. My foggles work is all fine although I can feel that it wasnt as good as it was just a few weeks ago and it just further puts home the message that this is not a skill I ever want to rely on being able to reproduce. Prevention is the absolute requirement.

Foggles off and its some auto's. The first one is to be just a normal basic autorotation. practice engine failure go and I lower collective to enter autorotation. I do pull back a bit on the cyclic to flare but for some reason it is far less than I would usually have used in my R22 training. As a result the speed hasn't really decayed from 90kts and I then have to slow us down which results in the rotor RPM going up which I am a little bit slow to catch. Not my best autorotation and John feedbacks what it was lacking.

The next one is to be a PFL. I enter autorotation again and the flare part of the entry is marginally better than the first effort but still leaves room for improvement. I get the speed to 70kts and just about control the RRPM as I select a field and fly the approach path. The field isnt particularly large and the manovering to get into it requires me to focus on speed and rotor control so i dont have any time for the Mayday or touch drills checks (fuel tap off and master switch off). We fly most of the approach into the field before recovering and I am a bit further into the field than I would have liked although on balance John feels I would have been in and down before reaching the hedge running along the end of it.

John asks me to recover back to 1800ft and to do one more concentrating on the flare part of the entry and also trying to get in the Mayday and touch drills. The entry is much better and the speed and rotors settle down nicely. I pick a field that is the biggest one available but its not particularly large and begin the descent turning towards the field whilst making the Mayday calls and carrying out the touch drills. Those done I concentrate on the latter part of the approach using some S-turns to keep us short of the field and then turn onto final for entry into the field. Again on balance John thinks I would have been in ok although there was still some room for improvement.

John says he is happy with these now and asks if there is anything else I want to cover out over Aylesbury. I suggest we do a Confined area approach and so we look out for a suitable field. John picks quite a tricky small area with trees on the last piece of the into wind approach. Its possible to make a crosswind approach to avoid these but John says he wants me to come in over the trees to see how I make such an approach.

I do a reckie at about 500ft around the field checking the S's (size, shape, slope, suitability) and the 2 W's (Wind direction and WIRES). I am happy with the approach required and extend downwind before running a short base and longish final approach. Slowing down to 30-40kts as we get closer to the site i am happy that we have a good approach path and state that I am happy going into the site from here. Maintaining 30kts and about 300ft descent rate I bring us in over the trees watching for the tail to be clear before making the final piece of the descent into the hover over the part of the field targetted. One of my better confined area approaches for sure and the recent practice seems to be paying off.

John reminds me to check for WIRES ahead before making the departure which is of course excellent advice.

We head back to Denham and on the way John checks some of the emergency drills including clutch light, alternator light and governer off flying. We also go through the electrical fire drill and John briefly shows what happens when the alternator and the master switch are both off before putting them back on and saying the governor is now back working again. However my "bad day" continues with the hydraulics stopping working. I am a bit more used to how heavy the controls and it seems easier to fly it hydraulics off this time. Onto final approach into Denham and I try and fly a nice long flare for the run on landing which I manage although John thinks I had taken a bit too much speed off at the end and "got a bit lucky". We put the hydraulics back on and I lift and John takes over the controls and sets me up for the last part of the HYD landing again. HYD off he hands the controls back to me I make a better job of keeping a bit more speed for the run on landing which goes ok, its not perfect but its safe enough.

John tells me that I have a "practice pass" for my "practice test" and that he is happy for me to take the test for real in 10 days time.

I sit the written exam later in the afternoon and Dave and I both pass. Happy days Smile

Total course time 6 hrs 2 minutes
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 14, 2011 11:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tuesday 13th September

I had my test with Oliver Byard-Jones and passed Woohoo.

Its an exam so as usual I won't document the details.

What I hadn't realised is that now a load more paperwork has to be sent off to the CAA along with some more money and I have to wait for a couple of weeks for the bit of paper to arrive with the type rating on it... Sigh !!

I was expecting the examiner to be able to just add the type rating onto my licence but thats not the case.

Gemming up now on the London Helilanes Smile
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 18, 2011 10:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well done Sir! Cheers!

Enjoy yourself - I love the R44. Such a relaxing machine to fly after doing battle with the R22 Cool
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 23, 2011 3:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Documentation all in hand....

Flying the helilanes on Sunday... all very exciting Smile
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