Autorotations: How Best to Perform ?

Heliboy

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This question is targeted for Stan but also anyone who can provide input.

I myself have all experience with auto practicing in R22. What is the best way to begin auto practicing in the Helicycle. Obviously since you are the sole person you must perform practices that you are comfortable with since you dont have a backup.

Is it best to simply keep 100% RPM and drop collective to perform what is essentially a 'quick descent' to get the overall feel.

Stan: As one who practiced alot AND unfortunately had to perform two of them what are your suggestions ? It may be better to ask the question: (How did you begin practicing autorotations to enhance your auto skills).
 

StanFoster

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Heliboy- I practiced as real life autos as I could...by cutting the throttle, getting the left raw, then acting. My real autos were nothing like the ones I did in an R22 while having an instructor with me. We would count down , and I would roll the throttle off while simultaneously giving right pedal, etc.

A real auto has the power reduction first, ........then the pilots reaction.

Sure, you are going to be further into the auto practicing with this authentic delay method, losing more rrpm , but if you want a more real world experience, this is how I practiced them.

That being said, after all my auto practice, my first flameout found me in new territory, low airspeed, low altitude, and the best way out for me was decided in those very short seconds, .....an insane 40 mph run on landing which I never practiced as it would likely collapse my landing gear.

But thankfully I had just installed my landing gear cables and now they were going to get a real world test.

My thought sequences in those 8-9 seconds from finding myself at 150 feet, 40 mph airspeed , and a flameout are still vivid in my mind from November 11th, 2010.

Sudden left yaw, my VERY first thought was I will walk away from my destroyed helicopter as I simply haven't the skill to save my machine with a normal auto/flare/level the skids, and land.

My 2nd thought as the ground came rushing up was I am going to have to perform a never practiced 40 mph run on landing, and thank God I just installed those reinforcing cables. I waited till my gut told me to pull collective at the last second as I touched down at 40 mph and slid 200 feet in grass at that! My first thought while sliding was NOT to dump the collective while sliding as I very well could have had a much quicker deceleration resulting in either a nose over, or even more strss on my landing gear causing it to collapse.

My first thought after stopping...was to now lower the collective which was in my armpit still, and then realize I had saved my Helicycle.

My first thought after exiting the cabin was seeing my camera on the skid, and then realizing ...OMG...I have this on video!

I ended up flying it home, and have told this story many times. I had one very skeptical person doubting my above facts, and I sent him a link to the video of the whole thing. He believed me then. I really don't think I would have shared this story had I not had an excellent video to back it up. I had the story posted that night with a promised video coming in a few days.

Anyway, that event coincidentally was on Veterans day and in my mind I became a helicopter veteran on that day with this flameout run on landing auto....and flew it home afterwards.
 
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Rotor Kop

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Interesting Stan although I have seen the video a while back. I would really like to either do the cable mod or install a set of braces to the front legs like at the back legs. Not sure which would be best and why?
 

bryancobb

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Everyone On The Thread,

Remember...
* Autorotation is an Emergency Procedure
* Practicing touchdown autos bend a lot of machines unnecessarily
* Power Recovery autos are a NORMAL procedure
* PR`s are much less risky than TA`s
* If you can do a PR well, you will succeed at a real forced landing 99% of the time
* Maybe touchdown autos allow you to keep your "man card."
* If so...Real men have bent or broken helicopters
* Even modern ARMY training doctrine avoids practice autos to the ground as much as possible
 

Heliboy

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Stan
I really appreciate you re-living your recovery process . I'm sure it gets old having to rehash it in your mind . Its good for us to read because as you mentioned previously it keeps one from becoming complacent. It makes you think and forces you to get out of the comfort zone of daily flying.

I think I will begin practicing with what I call quick descents and work into more aggressive autos from that point. I never liked auto training even in the R22 . The R44 was a bit better. And as Bryan said I certainly will not be doing any full touchdown autos (in practice anyway) . I will only perform power recovery once I reach that point.


I ordered a new windscreen coming from the factory this week. Once I get that put in I am going to start my auto practicing. The customized window from previous owner has some serious optical distortion I'm guessing from the heat process involved . He used a large helmet and it has a bubble on top to accomdate it. I do not want to start practicing quick descents/autos before I get that changed out and can see clearly through the front screen.

I wanted to get input from Stan before starting that adventure. I greatly appreciate you bringing back all of the details to learn from.
 

StanFoster

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Heliboy- Please use your own judgement and don't take it from one who has 0 instruction time in gyros. That would be scary to me!

Bryan is correct on PR autos. I was not allowed to do a touch down auto in the R22 , but my instructor showed me one that we hit so hard, I was joking with him wishing I knew the before and after measurements of the height of the engine off the tarmac!...till he told me not to let his boss know!

That said, the Helicycle has to be experienced to feel how much momentum those blades have. I have a cousin that had over 1000 combat hours in a Huey, and he would say how they could auto in, land, pick up and set down again.

Every flight I did quick stops and aggressive ones occasionally to keep my reflexes honed. I would pile my machine up if I had to autorotate now.

I am glad I have been there, done that...quit that
..before it bit me. I ended my flying career with 20 forced landings, 18 in a gyro, 2 in my Helicycle.

That tells me I was fairly proficient at my engine out skills as I never damaged anything from these forced landings. But it indicates I was not a good mechanic!
 

Heliboy

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Stan: I have followed you long enough to know I respect your details and advice ! Thank you again for the details. Once I get my new windscreen put in so that I can see without distortion I will begin my transition into the auto adventures. I have always been a big believer in always working on your weak points instead of avoiding them.

Turbo: Thank you for the offer to PM and input on the R22 autorotation comparison . I've been fortunate to have a couple of great guys down South I can send a text to as well when a question comes up.

I can tell you that I've only owned my Helicycle for about 4 weeks now after wanting it for many years and already feel part of a great fraternity of great guys willing to help ! That is priceless .
 
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