It’s good to get back in the saddle. Was surprised how much I missed my helicopter lessons.
Thankfully, the weather was perfect for it. Nice cold temperatures meaning high performance from the engine, and good visibility, with no precipitation.
I had in mind what I wanted to get out of today’s lesson. I wanted to leave it thinking “Oh yes, I can still fly a helicopter” and I achieved that, so am happy.
I arrived at the flying school early (10am) for my 11am lesson. I had decided to take a couple of exams today, the last 2 theory ones. I did some last minute revision, but was surprised about how much I had remembered from previous revision. Scores on the doors :-
Human Performance – 95%
Radiotelephony – 93.33333%
Well pleased with that. All theory exams done, just the radiotelephony practical exam to do PLUS the helicopter equivalent of the driving test ! The end is in sight.
So, today’s helicopter was G-DOGI (Doggy as it’s affectionately known). It was in a hangar next to where the police helicopter operates from, so a bit of a trek in the cold to get to it.
The great thing was I got to fly it from there around to the flying school at no cost to me ! So, takeoff, some precision transitioning (or fast taxi at least) and then landing. Loved it.
The takeoff went “ok”, but then the initial hover showed my lack of experience for the last 3 months, but I was pleased at how quickly I got the knack again.
Once filled up, I started her up again or at least tried to. But it wouldn’t start AT ALL. Steve was booking us out, and I couldn’t work it what I was doing wrong. I knew it was something stupid, but just couldn’t figure it out ! I rang Steve and he said he’d be there shortly.
Well, before Steve returned I realised that the rotor brake was still on, and that was the cause of it not starting. It started fine without the brake on
Once I’d started it and all the checks were done and I had the clearance, Steve returned and we headed off north. Past Morpeth, we did a vortex ring exercise. We were at about 2300 feet, and Steve asked me to enter a hover. Once in the hover, we entered vortex ring and then came out of it by gently increasing speed and powering away. Then onto the plateau where we did some autos, some quickstops, quite a bit of precision transitioning (fast low stuff, love it). We finished off with an auto to powered recovery into the hover. It went “ok”, but I could tell I was out of practice and Steve could too. But, I wasn’t disappointed, in fact, I was quite pleased that so much of his training was still in me.
I have a tendency when doing “autos to a hover just above the ground” to keep the nose high for too long, whereas I should be levelling out. I know why, but it’s only just dawned on me. At no point, am I thinking of landing it, and although we don’t ever land it (when practising an auto), I need to think and do everything as if I was going to land it. With that in my mind, I feel sure I’ll do it to Steve’s (and my) satisfaction next time. On the way back, we had a good catchup. Steve also slipped in a “small criticism”. Apparently, I’ve been hovering too low. Wasn’t aware of it, but he wants it about waist height for added safety, so I’ll work on that next time too.
So, all in all, a fruitful lesson. My helicopter head is nearly fully back on, more practice required.
I’ll try and get a lesson in next week (weather permitting).
I took video of both flights (PLUS atc), so all being well over the next couple of days, I’ll edit and upload that.