Thursday, October 28, 2010

Demo Flight #1 @ Classic Helicopters, Boeing Field Seattle Wa. 9-2-10

This demo flight is the first of 2 that I have scheduled. My next demo flight is scheduled for the 3rd at Helicopters Northwest. The purpose of my demo flights are to get a first hand experience with the Robinson R22 that I would be learning to fly in and an overview of the schools that I have an interest in attending. Each demo flight will consists of a ground debriefing and a 30min flight.

When I arrived at Classic Helicopters I was greeted in a friendly office cubical environment by the receptionist at the front desk. When I met my pilot for the day he was dressed in a dark green flight jump suit. As we made our way to the helicopter very little about the school or flight education program was explained to me. While starting the helicopter I sat by and watched as he went through his preflight routine, again very little explanation of what was happening and why.

This was my first time EVER in a helicopter, I was stoked. As we hovered out over helipad 6 on the east side of boeing field the pilot called into the tower for take off clearance. Once clearance was given we where off. The pilot explained to me that we would be taking an areal tour of seattle and that once we where in a safer airspace he would start handing the controls over to me one at a time. We flew the west shore line of Lake Washington and between I-90 and 405 I was given control of the anti torque pedals first and the cyclic second. The pilot explained that he would keep control of the collective because of past experiences he had had with beginner pilots and he felt safer that way. Once we reached the UW we headed to the west towards Green Lake and continued out to Carkeek Park. On this leg of the flight I was encouraged to play with the anti torque pedals to gain familiarity. There where two tell tail pieces of yarn mounted to the devision between my windshield and the pilots, if the strings where bowing to the right I had to input left pedal to achieve straight flight and if they where blowing to the left I had to input right pedal. Next I played with the cyclic control. the cyclic changes the main rotor pitch path, it is essentially your steering wheel. You push left you go left, you push right you go right, you push back you ultimately go back after considerable loss of speed. At Carkeek we made our way out over the water, back down the locks and into lake union from there we headed to the Space Needle where we made a left 360 around it and then back to boeing field. The flight was Fun and I got to see seattle in a way I never had before, but the flight was defiantly touristy feeling.

Over all I was stocked to have gone on my very first ride in a helicopter and got to control it... kind of. As far as making a good lasting impression to a potential student i didn't find a whole lot of what happened during this demo flight to be useful, I feel that I could have gotten the same experience by finding a pilot that was going up and just asking if I could ride along, it turned out to be more of a $100 joy ride.