My first lesson started off with ground school. We went over a few emergency conditions, how they occur, how to avoid them, and procedures to follow if they happen. We touched on mast bumping and low G maneuvers. Mast bumping is a result of incorrect response to a low G condition and or turbulence, and is where the rotor hub actually strikes the rotor mast. Low G conditions are generally caused by an abrupt forward cyclic input during straight and level flight or more easily produced out of a climb.
Out on the tarmac I was introduced to the preflight check of the helicopter. This inspection consists of visually checking over the helicopter for any abnormalities, faults or points of concern. I then went through start up procedure while Bryan performed the steps. Once the helicopter checked out every thing was running smoothly we where off. The days flight lesson consisted of practice take offs, landing patterns, and hovering. We flew South to Long Acres and practiced in the empty cow pastures.
We first practiced controlled landing patterns and take offs. during the landing pattern straight and level flight for the down wind leg typically is around 500 ft and 60-65 knots. When turning to base leg you want to start your deceleration to no less than 50 knots and drop to an elevation no lower than 300 ft by your turn to final approach. During final you hold 300 ft and 50 knots until you are in position to start your normal decent. Ultimately you want to reach zero air speed and your hover altitude (3-5 ft off the ground) at the same time. This as it turns out is a lot easier said than done! I was able to practice the maneuver 5 times during my flight. I also practiced hovering, I have a tendency to drift to the right but apparently that is normal due to pilots tensing up with their right hand and it inadvertently pulls to the right. Once I was made aware that Bryan was correcting for my pull I was able to correct it for a short period of time, but due to the fact that hover is difficult and demanding new pilots have a tendency to tense up and again I was drifting right. Before our final take off back to Boeing Bryan challenged my to hover for 1 minute, I was able to go 30 sec before straying to far. Once back at Boeing I walked through the shut down check list as Bryan performed the tasks.
Back in the office we debriefed and reviewed what I should study for the night.