Aahhhh - it's great to be a blogger ...
After 2 weeks of my lessons coinciding with not so good weather, it was great to get back in the air and finish Confined Areas. I've since heard of many others who get "grounded" for a length of time and can appreciate the frustration of not getting airborne (especially those people who were training full-time). The last time I went out the weather conditions diminished and basically after the "swat" and the initial approach we canned the lesson and headed back. I'd read the notes a few times over the previous couple of weeks so in theory it all seemed okay, of course once your up there though it's a different story.
Going through the swat checks on the first orbit of the proposed confined area, it's easy to rattle off the...size, shape, slope, surface, surrounds, wind, wires etc etc, knowing that this area would be okay because it's training. I wondered later, as I was driving back to work, whether I could be as certain with my reconnaissance of an unfamiliar sight at some other time. I suppose (or should I say hoping) that's where experience, briefings, client / passenger information or even google earth can help.
One thing I'm hoping that I'll always remember is WIRES - I'm glad it's being hammered home to me now! It's the main thing I remember on our first approach, which was a bit fast / low - I was probably too busy watching the staunches / lines as we flew over them. Finding the flare had a bit too much flare on the transition to hover was met with a comment along the lines of ...we'll go back around and try that again.
Hovering back to the other end of the area, I thought I was close enough to the trees but the instructor showed me that I could get a bit closer and not to worry about the cows...I reassured him that it was my desire at the moment to take care of his machine... cows what the f., it's funny how I could be so focused on trying to keep the machine under control that cows in the peripheral went unnoticed - I just wanted them to stay over in the corner (and no I don't have anything against cows).
Tail rotor clear, round we go, checks/settle...up we go - I found the max perf take offs easier to handle than the standard transition for some reason - but I'll take what I can get at the moment. It definitely felt a bit weird clearing the tree line for the first time (it'll make it, it'll make it - I hope I wasn't saying that over the intercom).
Second stab a bit better, but the take off not so good - STOP instructor takes over and said you can do better than that - brings it down, hands over and I try not to repeat it again. Third approach was much better I could appreciate more the line I was aiming for and the "picture" in the bubble.
When taxying to the other end I found that's when the instructor will talk about what was good / bad / pointers etc and I wonder what he hears when I answer or ask a question myself - it seems that the experience level I'm at it's talking or hovering not both (eg I noticed on that...oops..approach that it was a better line...whoa...and didn't have to pull back..sorry..as much as last time). The instructors course must have a module in there for deciphering student's babble.
We had one more circuit and that was probably the best (that I could muster anyway) and it was time to head home. I enjoyed confined areas as it really brought home the helicopters abilities for no aerodrome required and I didn't want to have to wait another 2 weeks to fly again!
Until next time...
Those who believe in telekinetics, raise my hand
Follow choppernut on his journey to CPL(H).
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