First of all, someone at work left a message on my phone this afternoon as I left the building with something along the lines of...
"where were you last night and what did you do with that helicopter?"
Accountants have lame senses of humour at the best of times and this just added more weight to the old adage. I try my best at work to balance things up a bit.
I didn't have the heart to ring him back and say after 3 hours training I'd be struggling to get the machine off the ground and down to the helipad let alone fly away in the middle of the night. Come to think of it, being a Kiowa I'd be stuffed just starting the thing!
Now, where was I... back out for the second time and some co-ordination was on the cards and then off then cards and then on the cards, thankfully a bit better by the end. Trying to remember things like fly attitude and just glancing at the ASI rather than chasing the thing, small smooth inputs - don't over compensate, don't forget the secondary effects, lookout for traffic. Climbing, descending and level turns, it was great to actually experience all these sequences for myself for the first time. We'd had enough of that and decided to head back a little earlier and on approach to the pad, the instructor said we'd have a quick intro to the hover.
I was really looking forward to the challenge and showing master what someone with bare minimum experience could do . Demo on the pedals - have a quick go - ok. Demo on collective - have a quick go - ok. Demo on the cyclic - have a go - ooow tricky when inputs not so smooth. Here have a crack at all three - movement backwards, forwards, sideways, a bit up, a bit down, starting to tense up a bit - crickey...ok that will do for today...
Part of that job satisfaction for instructors I suppose is when he can smile and say not so easy is it? No I say, but I will return!
3rd lesson a few days later, read my notes and the briefing just doesn't do justice to what you need to actually feel in the machine and just start doing it (I don't mean to put down the benefit and learning experience that briefings bring to the table just my need to get out and get the feel for it was, and I assume is for everyone else). First 5 or 10 minutes, a bit all over the shop. It's amazing my instructor could tell every time when I was looking inside the cockpit rather than out on the horizon. Kept telling myself to relax - smooth inputs - try and stay ahead of the machine. Everytime I headed over to a fence workers would stare at the machine. They're probably used to seeing a Robo bounce around there in the morning air, I was waiting for a line of score cards by the end of it.
Trying to tell the helicopter to stop was the aim and it worked after while (even if it was a bit wobbly). So I could say that the hover was "achieved" (I use that term loosely). I had a go at hover taxi's, hover turns and after 45 minutes the instructor asked if I was having fun - you bet and said ok another 5 minutes then we'll head back over. Now during my first couple of flights I was told (even though it was pretty cold) I would not need a jumper... do you think I took the thing off before this flight, nup, so after 45 minutes I was feeling it a bit - instructor looks at me and says, do you reckon you'll wear that jumper next time? My only reply was no, don't think I will. I think that was another part of job satisfaction for him.
Note to self don't wear the jumper and for lesson 4 more hover practice required...did the instructor say we'd have a go at take offs and landings next lesson?
Until next time...
Follow choppernut on his journey to CPL(H).
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