Helicycle-- Hoverings & Happenings

brett s

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I wouldn't have thought the stops on the fuel control would need readjusted too often.
That's what I'd think too, they are a pretty much set & forget thing in my experience.
 

StanFoster

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Mike- This thing has crept up on me. Its a very simple adjustment that I simply wasnt aware of. My turbine has shut down from the governor switch for a long time. I recall it not being that way initially.

It looks like it was just simply shutting down too much on the fuel. I have it set now where it acts differently now, not flying, but on ground runup and shutdown.

This turbine has been a dream to fly, its so smooth, and trying to keep my ignorance ahead of it is the challenge.

My best defense is to practice autos. ha

I was talking to Blake today at the factory about it, and he feels also that the low fuel stop being raised higher should prevent the turbine from starving for fuel when and if a high load is released suddenly from it, just like these only two times I have done such.

I will now not lower the collective during an aggressive use of it just for safer measures.

This information is to help educate the Helicycle guys that frequent this forum.

Some of this stuff is educating both the customer and the company. Maybe if I would go back in the archives in the Helicycle flyers forum, I am sure this has been covered. If my spreading the word here saves someone from that making a simple adjustment could keep them from having to perform an auto, then this is good.

Speaking from actual practical experience, and not out of a book, I can verify there is a lot of energy stored in those rotor blades with those 12 ounce tip weights. This last auto was a yawner in comparison to the situation I found myself in last fall. My very first thoughts last fall as I was coming down like a possum tossed off a hayloft were that I would walk away from a wrecked machine. I had enough energy to pull out a low speed landing with a high rate of descent.

Last night I had all the energy in the world with 70 mph, and vertical descent was almost nothing as I enjoyed a nice bleed off of rotor energy over the grass. I remember at one foot altitude as I was flying parallel to the ground the amount of stored energy that the rotor was giving back to me. B.J. did a fantastic job designing this Helicycle. Plus, no nose over tendency at all as I was happily skidding to a stop.

Again, had I not had this nice stretch of grass, I still had a normal flare to a quick stop to 0 mph, level the skids and kiss it down with 0 or just a creep of forward travel if I didnt quite get it stopped. I practice getting this machine stopped, and do aggressive quick stops all the time. These are done for my butts sake and not trying to show off with it.

I come into my chopper channel many times just smoking, then haul on the aerodynamic brakes. I love hearing that thrushing, thump thump sound in the chopper channel as there are some serious reverbs going on. Its all to prepare me for an actual event. I hate having to go through a real auto, but it is a freakin rush that I cant describe experiencing one successfully.

Stan
 

StanFoster

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My low fuel stop had not creeped, it was locktited and had a lock nut on it also. I had never touched it until this morning. The problem seems to be that I possibly should have been asking questions about my governor and how it should acting.

As I was adjusting upwards my minimum fuel today, I found a point where the governor could be shut off, and no rpm changes at all......just like the switch wasnt doing anything. I called Doug about this and I was on the "sweet spot" so to speak, and he said I was on the high side of where it should be. So, I backed it off very small amounts, like an 1/16 of a turn at a time. I soon found where the govenor when switched off would lose rpm slowly, but too slowly. A little bit more off and now its rpm decreases slowly like it should way down until it shuts itself off, but it takes awhile. Yesterday before todays adjustment, you hit the governor switch, the fuel control arm went forward and just starved it out for fuel.

It seems there is a very sweet spot of adjustment, and my guess is it was just at the point of barely having enough fuel before.

It totally shuts down differently now, and a minor surge in the idling is gone also.

Bear with me as this turbine still looks like it came from an alien spaceship!....



Stan
 

StanFoster

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Just another thought that came to me that I feel is very important. Out of all the probably in the hundreds of throttle chops and or collective drops, the ONLY two times I did such that ended in a flameout were when they were just immediately applied to a high powered situation. That one time on Veterans Day, and last night were the only two times I lowered the collective while demanding a lot of power out of that turbine. I don't mean to minimize the word "only", because even two times is two times too many, and many helicopter pilots fly a lifetime having never experienced a single real auto. The hundreds of other times were all at much lower power settings. That alone was a valuable piece of information to Blake and Doug. Blake went on to explain to me how this information all fits to why the turbine starved out for fuel BOTH times. Its like trying to adjust a TV set when it seems to be working fine. You need clues, and these two clues fit the failure scenario I had these two times, and yet nothing happened at all the othe several hundred times I have lowered the collective or chopped power. My confidence is higher now about the autorotative capabilities of this helicopter, and of collective drops during high powered conditions, flaming the turbine out again. Its a work in progress getting me up to speed with this turbine! Stan
 
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hillberg

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The manual control I designed for the Turbine Exec had a feature of limiting the Electronic FCU to prevent a low side problem, A lot of T-62 engines out and the more bugs found only make it a better choise in the future.
 

StanFoster

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A beautiful evening to check out the farms. The corn is getting about too tall to autorotate into, so I find myself flying a little hiigher. The turbine and all its systems, gauges, all were right on spec.

The turbine shuts down properly now, and its fun learning the new ways of operating these powerplants.


The 2nd picture, you can make out the halo effect from my helicopter in the woods that I am blocking the sun to.
Stan
 

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Jerry Carter

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One clue I told him was that when I shut the governor off, it just dies like I shut the MFS off. This is not the way it should be. Doug told me that when the governor shuts off, the rpm's should slowly decrease, not rapidly. He thought my minimum fuel stop was too low. I went out and ground run it and turned on the minimum fuel quite a bit. The governor now when shut off sees a slow rpm decline, instead of a rapid one.

Stan, after I read this, I went back and listened to some of your startups and shutdowns on your videos. I will say that your turbine seems to come up slower than mine. I recently had to return my fuel controller back to Eagle because of a severe fuel leak which had developed around the throttle arm. After rebuilding the unit, Blake noted that it seemed to come up fast on the test engine, indicating that perhaps mine accelerates a little more rapidly during startup than he is accustomed to seeing. So, I'm not sure if yours is slow or mine is fast. Still it is an obvious difference when I listen to your engine starting. My engine seems to spool down a bit more gradually than yours, just judging from the sound. There's a big difference when I hit the MFS switch during shutdown, with the engine rapidly decelerating after that. I'm not sure what all this means. I hope the low fuel stop adjustment has solved your problems. If it happens again, perhaps the fuel controller itself could be an issue. Thanks for your posts.
 

StanFoster

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Jerry- my shutdowns sound different now. Before, if I hit just the governor switch, t would just die. Now it spools down very gradually. The turbine just always has run very powerfully and smooth. I believe my two flameouts would have never happened had I known what I know now, but in hindsight, those forced landings were a real rush I will NEVER forget after flying home after each of the two forced landings. It keeps my auto practice exciting. Remember how boring fire drills were in school? We never had a real fire to make us realize how important fire drills are. Stan
 
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StanFoster

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My Helicycle has flown every month of the year now with todays flight. I had just greased all the zerks, checked it over real well, and took off for about an hour. I landed at 3 different friends homes and one was a nice confined approach. I hovered around in some god forsaken places, but cant take pictures while doing that.


All the systems are working fine. I did an autorotation practice, and always do a bunch of quick stops. I have never enjoyed any piece of machinery as this chopper.

I did some 105 mph runs both ways and my GPS was indicating 102 average, Still had plenty of collective left. That turbine does not lack for power at all. I opened my bleed air just a tad more and will check it again. Its nice not having to subtract 10 mph off my ASI.

Stan
 

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StanFoster

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I flew up to the guys home that is organiing the Paxton Fly-in this July 16th at my hometown of Paxton.

He wants me there bright and early burning kerosene. I did a recon flight over his home out in the country yesterday, and decided to set down by these grain bins just at the corner of his grass. My biggest concern were his two large dogs running loose. You just dont know what a dog will do. Last time I had a huge black Newfoundland come running around the corner of a building and was headed right for me as I was hovering at 2 feet. I pulled to a high hover then to my amazement, I could see the dogs shadow leaping up at my tail rotor. He was launching himself as hard as he could. Had I been down in low hover, he probably would have been tail rotorized!

So, I monitored these dogs, and they were walking the other way, so I set down, and no problem.

This guys name is Rich Kingery and he mentioned Mike Miltons name...Tom Miltons son, and how he had met him while Mike was looking at an R44 that this Rich drives the chemical/fuel/heli-pad truck for. Its a small world.

Hey, I know others are flying out there, lets post the experiences.....

It was hot and humid yesterday, and I was completely full on fuel. I had all kinds of reserve collective, so I did a hover test over some of dads corn that is 5 feet tall. This corn is right next to my heli-lot next to my home. I could definitely feel I was using more collective when I hovered over my lot at 6 feet, then crept over the corn. That corn is a power sucker as it restricts the outflow of my downwash, and reintroduces more of it into the tip vortices, making them larger and at a higher velocity. I love feeling in real world seat of the pants what I read in my armchair book world.



Stan
 

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Roundwing

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It was hot and humid yesterday, and I was completely full on fuel. I had all kinds of reserve collective, so I did a hover test over some of dads corn that is 5 feet tall. This corn is right next to my heli-lot next to my home. I could definitely feel I was using more collective when I hovered over my lot at 6 feet, then crept over the corn. That corn is a power sucker as it restricts the outflow of my downwash, and reintroduces more of it into the tip vortices, making them larger and at a higher velocity. I love feeling in real world seat of the pants what I read in my armchair book world.



Stan

During my helicopter training flight last week I was making an approach over some tall corn and my instructor warned me about the extra power required when trying to hover over corn and tall grass.

I didn't actually experience it as we were to high but your story reinforces what he had said and now I have a better understanding of why.

Thanks for the lesson Stan.
 

StanFoster

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Roundwing- You can definitely feel more collective needed. My lot is mowed grass and I was hovering over my lot...then transitioned over the corn slowly, and just watched my need for more collective as you could feel it settle.

I found it real interesting how and why this happens. I have posted some interesting high speed smoke/laser photos of a rotor at different heights above a smooth surface. The vortices are forced outward in ground effect , actually increasing the area for the inflow to go though the rotor disc. This reduces the inflow velocity....increasing the AOA and thus requiring lest collective... Typical "ground effect"

But hovering over tall grass, tall soybeans or corn, just the opposite happens. The vortices are restricted from spreading, leaving a smaller disc area for the inflow to go through, and this increases the down flow velocity, and now reduces the AOA. Now you need more collective because of this.....plus more of the outflow is being caught and reingested into the rotor tip vortices, making them larger and at a higher velocity.

So ground effect near a hard surface....less power.....
ground effect near tall grass/corn.......more power.


Stan
 

bryancobb

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Stan! You are spending some $$$$$$$ on gas!!! Excuse me...F U E L.
 

StanFoster

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Bryan- I intended all along to burn kerosene. Better spending $$$$$ on kerosene than just looking at it. ha ---- This thing is my tractor.


Stan
 

Duvan

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Jerry- my shutdowns sound different now. Before, if I hit just the governor switch, t would just die. Now it spools down very gradually. The turbine just always has run very powerfully and smooth. I believe my two flameouts would have never happened had I known what I know now, but in hindsight, those forced landings were a real rush I will NEVER forget after flying home after each of the two forced landings. It keeps my auto practice exciting. Remember how boring fire drills were in school? We never had a real fire to make us realize how important fire drills are. Stan

Stan
Two flameouts !?, I have read about your first flameout but I have missed the second. Have you written about the second ? What post number?

Duvan
 

StanFoster

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Duvan- I wrote about my 2nd flameout. Its in this thread. I have had a lot of praise for my love of this machine, but that wouldn't be right if I didn't tell the whole story. Both seem to have been tied together. My fuel control arms low speed setting stop was raised quite a bit. I have only lowered my collective twice during a high load an and both resulted in a flameout and an autorotation to the ground. My turbine should not shutdown like that, and I feel it was a learning curve for me to communicate correctly to Doug and Blake how my turbine was reacting. A phonecall to Doug quickly resolved the problem. Just an adjustment quirk and all is fine. Stan
 

Duvan

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Stan
Are you confident in that you will not have a flame out of the same reason ? Are you going to test the same manovering as when you had flame out ?

Duvan
 
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StanFoster

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Duvan-. Yes,I am very confident it won't flameout again. The first one was attributed to my idiotic euphoria taking over and pulling the life out of my turbine, and then dumping collective. I learned more from that than any lesson a CFI could have showed me. My 2nd time was totally in the proper operating range, when during an aggrressive takeeoff, I lowered the collective and was greeted with a flameout. This should NOT have happened, and after a phone consultation with Doug, some adjustments were made to my low throttle control arm limits, and it is now back in its proper setting. That turbine should have never stalled either time, but in hindsight, I am glad it did as I learned much about pushing the envelope, andlearning how to mechanically set it to prevent it again from happening. I have repeated the scenario over a grass runway and it would just go back to a normal idle. I now feel better informed on what clues to look for, very simple ones I might add, and to keep educating myself on this powerplant. I attribute my first flameout totally to pilot error, and my 2nd flameout to my lack of knowledge at that time on being aware of what is the correct fuel control settings. I feel I am a much better pilot after the first flameout, and a more informed mechanic after the 2nd one. Again, I feel both flameouts would now not have occured, but in hindsight, I love having the experience of not balling up my ship both times. I fly with a very high level of confidence of this turbine. Stan
 
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StanFoster

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Buggy blades

Buggy blades

Here is a good example how well Purple polish works. My blades have been doing a lot of low air chopping, bug chopping included.

These bugs have dried and have been baked on out in the sun, but it still did not take more than 10 minutes per blade to get the finish back to original. If anything, I actually believe the shine is getting deeper with each polish.

Bottom line tip in my opinion, is that in the beginning, to get your blades to as mirror a finish as you can, you must progress through finer andfiner grit, then use a power buffer with wool bonnets and Purple. Feel the blades so they only get warm, and not hot. Once you have the mirror finish, upkeep maintenance is routine and even in this worse case scenario I had this morning....no more than 10 minutes a blade gets the bugs off and restores the mirror finish.

Stan
 

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