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How to fly a helicopter!

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/04/2008 at 12:27
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How to fly a Helicopter, by Dave Barry

Although flying a helicopter may seem very difficult, the truth is that if you can drive a car, you can, with just a few minutes of instruction, take the controls of one of these amazing machines.

Of course, you would immediately crash and die. This is why you need to remember :

RULE ONE OF HELICOPTER PILOTING :
Always have somebody sitting right next to you who actually knows how to fly the helicopter and can snatch the controls away from you because the truth is that helicopters are nothing at all like cars.
Cars work because of basic scientific principles that everybody understands, such as internal combustion, and parallel parking. Whereas scientists still have no idea what holds helicopters up.
"Whatever it is, it could stop at any moment," is their current feeling. This leads us to :

RULE TWO OF HELICOPTER PILOTING :
Maybe you should forget the intire thing.

This is what I was thinking recently as I stood outside a small airport in South Florida where I was about to take my first helicopter lesson. This was not my idea. This was the idea of Pam Gallina-Raissiguer, a pilot who flies radio reporters over Miami during rush hour so they can alert drivers to traffic problems.
I began having severe doubts when I saw Pam's helicopter. This was a small helicopter. It looked like it should have a little slot where you insert quarters to make it go up and down. I knew that if we got airborne in a helicopter this size in South Florida, some of our larger tropical flying insects could very well attempt to mate with us.

Also, this helicopter had no doors. As a Frequent Flyer, I know for a fact that all your leading United States airlines, despite being bankrupt, maintain a strict safety policy of having doors on their aircraft.

"Don't we need a larger helicopter?" I asked Pam, "with doors?"
"Get in," said Pam.

Now we're in the helicopter and Pam is explaining the controls to me over the headset. But there's static and the engine is making a lot of noise.

"........your throttle [something]," she is saying. "This is your cyclic and [something] your collective".
"What?" I say.
"[something] give you the controls when we reach 130 metres," Pam says.
"WHAT?", I say.

But Pam is not listening. She is moving a control thing and WHOOAA we are off the ground, hovering, and now, WHOOOOOAAAA, we are shooting up in the air, and there are still no doors on this particular helicopter.

Now Pam is giving me the main control thing.

RULE THREE OF HELICOPTER PILOTING :
If anyone tries to give you the main control thing, refuse to take it!

Pam says : "You don't need hardly any pressure to ........"

AIEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE

"Now that was too much pressure," Pam says.

Now I am flying the helicopter. I AM FLYING THE HELICOPTER. I am flying it by not moving a single body part for fear of jiggling the control thing. I look like the Lincoln Memorial Statue of Abraham Lincoln, only more rigid.

"Make a right turn," Pam is saying.

I gingerly move the control thing one zillionth of an inch to the right and the helicopter LEANS OVER TOWARDS MY SIDE AND THERE IS STILL NO DOOR HERE. I instantly move the thing one zillionth of an inch back.

"I'm not turning right," I inform Pam.
"What?" she says.
"Only left turns," I tell her. When you've been flying helicopters as long as I have, you know your limits.

After a while it becomes clear to Pam that if she continues to allow the Lincoln Statue to pilot the helicopter, we are going to wind up flying in a straight line until we run out of fuel, possibly over Antartica, so she takes the control thing back. That is the good news. The bad news is she is now saying something about demonstrating an "emergency proceedure".

"It's for when your engine dies," says Pam
"It's called auto-rotation. Do you like amusement park rides?"

I say, "No, I DOOOOOOO............."

RULE FOUR OF HELICOPTER PILOTING :
Auto-rotation means "coming down out of the sky at about the same speed and aerodynamic stability as that of a forklift dropped from a bomber."
Now we're close to the ground (although my stomach is still at 130 meters) and Pam is completing my training by having me hover the helicopter.

RULE FIVE OF HELICOPTER PILOTING :
You can't hover the helicopter.

The idea is to hang over one spot on the ground. I am hovering over an area about the size of Australia. I am swooping around like a crazed bumblebee. If I were trying to rescue a person from the roof of a 100 storey burning building, the person would realise that it would be safer to simply jump. At times I think I am hovering upside down. Even Pam looks nervous.

So I am very happy when we finally get back on the ground. Pam tells me I did great and she'd be glad to take me up again. I tell her that sounds like a fun idea.

RULE SIX OF HELICOPTER PILOTING :
Sometimes you have to lie.

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/04/2008 at 12:54
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Can we take it that something did not go quite as expected today? Or are you learning that a helicopter flys only until it tears itself apart.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/04/2008 at 13:01
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No no. I just really got a good laugh out of it.  I actually think the autos are a lot of fun, and i love flying with the doors off.
 
By the way, helicopters don't fly, they vibrate so bad the earth rejects them.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/04/2008 at 13:27
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True
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/04/2008 at 17:37
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Do we need to ask what happened to helos 1-17?
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/04/2008 at 17:56
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Originally posted by silver silver wrote:

Do we need to ask what happened to helos 1-17?
 
Roll%20on%20Floor%20Laughing Now that is a funny question!  I can honestly say I didn't crash them, but thanks for asking.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/04/2008 at 18:04
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I like my newest brother, so I will say that should the situation present itself, I hope there will be a #19
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/04/2008 at 18:51
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Well thanks bro, maybe someday there will be a cyborg2.  If I run into 19 I will make sure #20 comes to share the tale of how the collision went down. Wink
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/04/2008 at 19:12
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Originally posted by silver silver wrote:

Do we need to ask what happened to helos 1-17?
    Laugh%20Above
 
 It's also said that helicoptors don't fly;  they beat the air into submission!
 
 


Edited by RONK - March/04/2008 at 19:14
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/04/2008 at 21:59
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I heard the hovering is similar to riding a unicycle on a beach ball.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/04/2008 at 22:38
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Originally posted by fmullegun fmullegun wrote:

I heard the hovering is similar to riding a unicycle on a beach ball.
 
More like spinning a ball on your nose while riding a one pedal unicycle on a greased beach ball.
 
Actually, it isn't as bad as some say it is.  First time I tried I could only hold it for about 15 seconds.  Takes 10-15 hours of flight time (not just hovering) and it starts to click.  Now I don't even think about it, unless I am in a 20 knot gusting cross or tail wind.  Then it can get interesting in a small chopper.  Calm days i can hold it almost as still as a parked car.  Just don't let go of the controls! Big%20Smile
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/05/2008 at 00:05
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Did you see the jet attempting to land with 100+ crosswind on the news tonight. Why would a runway be open with that much crosswind?
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/05/2008 at 00:12
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I think only the gusts were getting that high.  Jets land routinely in 40+ mph winds with no problems.  He just got hit by a big gust, and if you ask me, he did a great job of not plowing that jet right into the ground.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/05/2008 at 00:15
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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W4OxGkmvPng
 
You can hear the wind gusts in the camera.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/05/2008 at 00:53
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Helicopters are only kept in the air by brute force and ignorance!!!They are not meant to fly.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/05/2008 at 01:05
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Originally posted by 8shots 8shots wrote:

Helicopters are only kept in the air by brute force and ignorance!!!They are not meant to fly.
 
I will have to repectfully disagree with that statement.  The principles of flying a helicopter are in many ways the same as an airplane.  There are a few differences, but the same laws of physics apply.  The only ingnorance involved is the people that don't understand how a helicopter works.  Also, you are more likely to survive a helicopter crash than a plane.  I will go up in a helicopter any day vs an airplane.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/05/2008 at 01:44
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helo18, my comment is a tongue-in-cheek statement. I was ferried around enough in helicopters under combat conditions to know what they are capable of.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/05/2008 at 06:55
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I know that at some point you could input the horse power, and lift area of the blades and the computer would say impossible.........That criteria has been rewritten as far as I know.
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Originally posted by 8shots 8shots wrote:

helo18, my comment is a tongue-in-cheek statement. I was ferried around enough in helicopters under combat conditions to know what they are capable of.
 
Sorry, 8shots, I did not take it the right way.  Forgive me for lashing out like that.  I have alot of people say things about helicopters that don't know a thing about them.  I took your statement the wrong way.  Sorry about that.  And thanks for your service. Salute Helicopters in combat a good targets, and it takes more guts to ride in one in those conditions, than it does to fly them like I do.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/05/2008 at 11:23
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Originally posted by cyborg cyborg wrote:

I know that at some point you could input the horse power, and lift area of the blades and the computer would say impossible.........That criteria has been rewritten as far as I know.
 
The bigger the surface area of the blades, the heavier they are (although composite blades help fix this), and the more horsepower it takes to keep them spinning.  At a certain point, it just isn't efficient to use that much horsepower if you can't gain speed and weight capacity out of it.  In theory if you had enough horsepower you could spin blades as big as the wings on a 747.  There are alot of other limiting factors other than horsepower.  the weight of compnents so big.  comes back to power vs weight return.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/05/2008 at 13:33
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Precisely my point bro. I was referring to the aero programs that would dismiss the helicoptor due to the wieght, lift area, and horse power ratios that apply only to fixed wing aircraft. That program would say it would be impossible for such an aircraft to leave the ground.
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If all you do is compare power to weight ratio, fixed wings wins all day long.  Don't get me wrong, I like flying planes too, but they just are not as versatil as helicopters.  Each have there place and uses, and there is just more you can do with a helicopter.  I am also impressed with sikorsky.  There new heavy lift helicopter (military only right now) will be able to lift 84000 lbs gross take off weight.  that translates to roughly a 50,000 lbs useful load.  That is a lot of weight for a helicopter.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/05/2008 at 13:53
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There are several Helis out there that I find amazing, that Siko is a bad ass for sure. Some of those heavy lifters are simply remarakable, we had one that was used to install an a/c unit on a highrise building in downtown Atlanta. Talk about some serious rotor wash JEEEEEEESHH!!!!!!!!!
Those things develope some serious static too one of the guys took a really bad jolt because the static line wasn't grounded properly, I saw this same thing happen when I was AirAssault training as well. EEEEEEYIIIIIIKES!!!!!!!
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Some of the heavies like the skycrane, chinook, and ch-53 can create rotor wash wind speeds of 200-300 mph.  Better hold on to something if they are going to hover right over you when fully loaded.
 
Never seen any problems with static.  Biggest risk is hot fueling.  I don't think static shock during long lining is very common, but I haven't done any long line yet.  Worked with a firecrew that did, but you usually didn't do alot of sling loads, mainly just bambi buckets.
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