Thursday, November 11, 2010

Nov. 11th, Altitude and speed control

Today ended up being another good flying day, calm winds out of the south and scattered clouds at 4500 ft.

The second day back in the pilots seat felt really good, I was more relaxed and comfortable behind the controls. As we left Boeing field headed south to Auburn I worked on altitude and speed control. These two are a little harder than they seem at first and I have been having trouble with them up to this point. When flying a helicopter the cyclic controls your direction of travel and the collective controls your main rotor pitch angle which in turn controls the amount of lift that your main rotor system is providing. To obtain flight you must raise the collective and to obtain a direction you must move the cyclic in the desired direction. Now if you are in forward flight and you are flying 60 knots and want to go 70 knots you must move the cyclic forward but unless you raise collective to sustain your altitude you will start doing 70 knots but also start loosing altitude.... no good. And on the opposite if you are traveling at 70 knots and want to do 60 knots then you must bring the cyclic back but unless you lower the collective you will start to gain altitude at 60 knots. So to make it simple your speed control is your cyclic and your altitude control is your collective. Now to maintain an altitude and speed with out looking at you gauges all the time you need to use the horizon as a reference point and a maker or object ( I learned to use the center window mounted compass) inside the helicopter to reference to the horizon. Once I received this piece of knowledge and I applied it I became quite more successful at maintaining my speed and altitude.

Once we made it down to Auburn I went through a few practice patterns, landings and take offs. There where 3 other various aircraft using the airport with us at any given time so to be efficient we taxied to a holding area at the north end of the field to practice pick ups and set downs. Being as tall as I am and as small as the Robinson R22s are I have found that I need to do a considerable amount of slouching to become comfortable. Once I found my comfortable seating posture it made a world of difference the way the controls felt, every thing felt a little easier.

To finish off the days lesson Bryan ran me through 3 auto rotations the last 2 of which I took control of the collective. The collective during an auto determines your rotor rpm, R22s have a very low inertia rotor system so it is very important to maintain proper rotor rpm so that you have enough inertia built up in the rotor system to cushion your landing.

Back at heli pad 6 I made a down wind landing and a successful cross wind set down. (the helicopter, as I left it, should still be there for me to fly tomorrow:)