Following my first article, relating to a training session with Skymed, I have since had a further session of 2 hours intensive one on one training. This has resulted in a vast improvement in the control of my helicopter and in the understanding of what I am doing.
In the discussion that followed this session, Steve and I felt it would be beneficial, for new students, if I kept a diary of my progress through to my check ride. This would give one perspective for others to contemplate and use as they train for their check ride.
There will be references to many topics, such as settings, systems and hardware, and I will not be repeating these as the information is available in many threads here at HoverControl. What I will try to do is point readers in the right direction so they can find the information and use or adapt it to their own particular needs.
So, I met with Steve at a quiet airfield and on a training channel on teamspeak and we had a short discussion on my settings and set-up so we were both flying with the same conditions. I like to fly using Steve's HELIHUD04, (this can be found in the file download section), and the first task was to get up into a stable hover. I recommend you read "how a helicopter flies", by Andy, in the ground school forum and "how to pass the certified pilot test ride", by Skymed, in the training forum.
My hover tends to cover a large area these days but not as large and catastrophic as a few weeks ago! So, the next task was to tighten up the control that I had. Steve explained how I could leave my collective alone, once I had become airbourne, and control the speed and altitude by cyclic and rudder alone. I have a great tendancy to career off backwards when trying to hover and this was addressed by learning to achieve only forward movement, if there had to be any movement at all.
Things got a lot tidier very quickly but there was still something missing! We spent a few minutes talking about the HUD and Steve explained how it was necessary to keep the small square of the attitude indicator inside the larger square of the artificial horizon, whilst in the hover. This was something I had been unaware of and after a short practice I realised just how small the cyclic input had to be to achieve this. And so, I was now able to control my helicopter 10 times better than at the start of the lesson.
Following some more practice of this discipline we had a short break and discussed just what each input does. Steve explained how the rudder pedals are used to point the nose of the helicopter in a desired direction and how the effects of forward motion dramatically effect how the helicopter behaves.
We progressed to some foot work. Here, I lifted to about 4 feet agl and had to follow Steve's helicopter with the nose of mine by just using the rudder pedals. Again, only small inputs were required and this was maintained for a couple of minutes before my helicopter got away from me.
After another short break we practiced some straight and level flight. This required me to fly along the runway at 10 feet agl and not above 5 knots. Steve pointed out the readings that I should be watching on the HUD. These were torque, ground speed and altitude. (A full description of these can be found in the read me document that accompanies Steve's HUD download). This was hard to achieve on my first go but Steve reinforced the need to leave the power setting (collective) alone and try to keep the aircraft flat level and moving slowly forwards by keeping the small square inside the large square. I practiced this for a short time and already my 2 hours were over.
Steve recommended that I practice flying from the number at one end of the runway to the number at the other, keeping straight and level, and then gradually decreasing the power so each run achieves a 1 knot reduction in airspeed, until I can sit at 10 feet agl with no movement in any direction.
I now feel a vast improvement has been achieved in my ability and I will practice the manouvers covered in this session before moving on to something new. I have no illusions about this being a quick trip to my check ride, I am finding the learning process doesn't come that easily these days! However, I hope that this helps others to set and achieve goals on their journey and I ask you to bear with me as I compile this diary.
Once again, I would like to thank Steve for his time and knowledge with this lesson.
I know it can be intimidating having others watch you struggle to learn, but I thoroughly recommend joining the multiplayer sessions. This very quickly overcomes the feelings of self consiousness and draws numerous offers of help to get you up and flying.
More nail biting installments to follow