The Helicopter Instrument Panel
With even a basic working knowledge of your helicopter's instruments and what they are showing, you can immediately begin to get much more out of your flight experience. A greater sense of control, planning, and a renewed confidence are just some of the positive benefits you'll likely begin to enjoy.
Many new pilots believe that instruments only need to be paid attention to during bad weather, or while under ATC control. This is simply not the case. Even during VFR conditions your instruments are there to help you understand exactly what your aircraft is doing at any given moment.
By the time you complete flight school at HoverControl, you will be able to maintain a straight course, execute smooth controlled turns and maintain exact altitudes, all with little deviation. So let's not waste any time explaining the gauges that will help you with this type of flight.
1. Torque Indicator
Measures the amount of power being applied to the rotor blades.
2. Airspeed Indicator
Measures how fast your aircraft is moving forward through the air.
3. Attitude Indicator
Displays the pitch and roll of your helicopter.
4. Altitude Indicator
When properly calibrated, measures the distance between your aircraft and sea-level.
5. Horizontal Situation Indicator
Displays your compass heading, and normally will have other navigational functions built in, such as Instrument Landing System indicators.
6. Vertical Speed Indicator
Measures how fast your aircraft is rising or falling.
7. Turn Coordinator
Helps the pilot visualize when his roll and yaw are equalized for the most efficient changes in direction.
These main instruments on your panel should be very important during your flight operations. By learning to keep a constant eye on them, you'll be able to control your aircraft with much better precision. You should find that constantly scanning these instruments during flight will be more challenging than in a fixed-wing aircraft, due to the fact that they can change much more radically during the course of normal flight.
We will be working with each one of these instruments in more detail during flight school. For now, it's only important that you recognize the instruments, know their names and their individual purposes.