Friday, April 27, 2012

What I've been up to.... again.

Much to the wailing of my fixed wing friends (cough, Wing, cough).  I'm continuing my helicopter training.

Nice day today.  Light winds out of the north, cool, no clouds.  Basically a beautiful day to fly. Or in the case of helicopters, make the air my bitch.

We did the usual hover work, pick ups, set downs, then we did some more flying.  Just figuring out what cruise power setting are for different airspeeds.  How to do constant airspeed climbs and descents.  Then we got back into the pattern and worked the pattern and something new, the helicopter approach.

Okay, I'm just writing this up so I'll remember it, you can skip the next paragraph if you want.

The standard approach path in helicopters is about 10 degrees. That's a bit different from a fixed wing approach.  That's usually a 3 to 3.5 degrees.  So, we were trying to turn final at about 300 ft. above ground
and at a point that puts the landing spot at that 10 degree descent path.  Then an initial slight reduction in power/collective and back on the cyclic to start the approach.  The idea being that you're doing a constant deceleration and descent to the spot.  So, all things being perfect, you start the final at 60mph (this helicopter's airspeed indicator is calibrated in mph) and you use collective to control the descent and the cyclic to control, this is the different bit, the apparent speed across the ground.  So, at 300 ft. you look like your moving at a walk, the same at 200, as 100, etc.  This means as the ground gets closer, you're going to be decelerating to keep that same apparent pace.  Seems okay, right? It's just that as a fixed wing pilot I have trained and trained and flown and flown to set up a constant descent but a constant airspeed as well.  So, all my flying life, I'm watching the runway numbers pass underneath at whatever is the landing speed of what I'm flying.  so, 30-35 in a Cessna up to 120-130 in a Lear.  So, here I am, constantly fighting my tendency to push the nose over to gain airspeed again rather than keeping the nose up and letting the airspeed bleed off. 

And that's basically it today.  Aside from a couple of beeps on the collective and the throttle, I had the controls alone the entire time.  So, I must be getting better.  I think.  maybe.... who knows...

I still think my instructor is using me in some sort of convoluted suicide/insurance scam thing.


Rev. Paul said...

It sounds fascinating, in a perverse sort of way. Obviously you survived, so I'll take that as a good thing.

Murphy's Law said...

You know that helicopters don't really fly, right? They're just so obnoxious that the earth literally repels them.

Good luck with the lessons though. Keep us posted.

On a Wing and a Whim said...

500,000 parts flying in loose formation, with a wing that's only blade-width wide when it stops turning... and you're having fun!

I didn't care for skydiving either, so I'll just shake my head and marvel at how quickly you, ah, master beating the air into submission.

Are you going to get to learn how to do long-line?

Old NFO said...

LOL, that whole airspeed thing gets interesting with helos... And pedal turns are interesting too!