Day 5 – Helicopter Training Flight #5 – Takeoff, Approach & Ground Reference Maneuvers

This is the fifth training flight in a series following a student through his flight training from day 1 to checkride in an R22.

This flight continues to build student skills and confidence on the basics of approaches, patterns, hover work & radio calls. We work on a ‘sight picture’ of a normal approach angle (which is very subjective). We demonstrate the torque effects of collective up and down twisting the helicopter left and right. We also introduce ground reference maneuvers – trying to fly around set landmarks and adjusting for wind.

Below the video are time-stamped notes/tips for the flight.


00:00 Low RPM check
00:35 Stow lose items away from open door
00:45 Which runway?
02:00 Conflicting traffic…
02:20 “Standby”
04:50 Clear before entering movement area
06:15 Clear & call before crossing hold short line (even rotor blades)
09:45 Stay in trim for better climb rate
10:05 Avoiding the flow of fixed wing traffic
11:00 Right or left traffic? And downwind checks
11:40 Extending downwind for spacing with left traffic
13:00 Final approach options & giving “1 mile final” call
13:30 Sight picture for normal approach (GoPro angle will look different than what I described)
14:20 As collective is raised and left pedal is added as we approach a hover, the tail rotor thrust increases and pushes the helicopter right
14:30 Also, the increase in torque makes the nose want to yaw right, especially if we have a left crosswind messing with the tail rotor (tail rotor vortex ring state)…
14:50 Cockpit checks prior to take off – a good habit
15:10 Demo of take off – countering the pitch/roll and yaw as the accelerate through Effective Translational Lift (ETL)
16:05 Volume of radios and clearing all around before turning – another very good habit
17:00 Try to locate/visualize the position of aircraft reporting on the radio – part of good situational awareness
17:50 Downwind checks – cockpit checks, wind socks & landing options (runway/taxiways in use/free, etc)
17:20 Discussion of start of LTE from left crosswind
19:35 Demo of landing
19:57 Again sightly different angle from GoPro (mounted above our eye line)
20:40 Starting to pull up collective & add slight forward cyclic to stop the nose popping up
21:50 As the rotor system increases efficiency going through ETL, the manifold pressure drops and inch or two (engine not working so hard) so you can pull up the collective slightly to get back up to your power limit and increase the climb rate
23:05 Add up collective as you turn to compensate for the loss of vertical lift
27:55 Lower hover = less power requirement = less torque & less left pedal required
28:15 “Take off 34” not “Taking 34…”
29:00 Push forward against the nose trying to pop up as you go through Transverse Flow Effect (TFE)
29:55 Fly runway extended center line – be aware of wind drift
31:15 Ground Reference Maneuvers
32:15 Right Trim (cruise trim applied)
32:30 Turn around a point (orbit)
38:30 Keep looking for traffic
39:40 Keep in mind noise complaints by avoiding low & repetitive flight paths
41:45 Try to avoid blade slapping (and so noise complaints) by avoiding shallow descent rate at speed
44:30 Eyes outside, looking for traffic more than usual approaching an airport
45:30 Use taxiways when possible to free up the runway to the fixed wing traffic
47:30 Don’t forget to check and disengage right trim (if used) on final…
48:15 Know what the wind is going to do to the helicopter before picking up

To view all the videos in this series, check out this YouTube playlist of all the Flight Training Sessions (Full-Length Unedited)

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