Here’s a perfect example of the difference between a scenario based (SBT) approach to training and the old maneuvers based approach.  The post below is from my 4th or 5th lesson during my helicopter training back in 2008.  We spent a whopping 1.2 hours doing laps around the pattern trying to perfect maneuvers.  

In our current SBT syllabus, lessons four and five are spent in the airport environment.  In addition to pattern work, we also introduce incursion avoidance (quickstops), air taxi, light signals, low rpm recovery, and go around procedures.  All that additional material is covered while still working on the basic maneuvers I spent 1.2 hours on back then.  

Ground School Books

A New Instructor

We spent all 1.2 hours today at KSFF working the pattern. I did at least 12 loops through the pattern. I went up with a different instructor today since my regular guy had the weekend off. Good for him for taking some time. Anyway, the other instructor has a different style. Not better or worse, just different. I liked it.

He did very little to help me out today unless it looked like I was really botching something. I noticed it mostly with pedal work. I didn’t realize how much my regular instructor was helping me with the pedals until the new guy wasn’t. I was all over the place. He forced me to practice hovering with me on the pedals for several minutes. I was finally starting to get it toward the end of the lesson.

I Can Almost Hover

I’m really close to doing an approach to a hover on the runway all by myself. I’ve got the descent rate down. The problem is the slight flare as I get to about 25-40 feet above ground level and lose ETL. At that point, I’m supposed to give very slight forward cyclic and pull a lot of collective to reduce my rate of descent and transition into a hover. There’s a lot happening all at once. My biggest mistake is not adding enough left pedal to compensate for the extra torque when I pull all that collective. I’m yawing to the right and coming in sideways. Not good!!

I was really close to completing the maneuver, but I got tired and low on fuel.  We called it a day and I hover taxied us most of the way to the tow dolly.  There was an R-44 parked close by and I got a bit nervous as we approached. I let my instructor know and he said “you’ll be fine. Just watch out for that $450k helicopter over there.” Riiiiiight.

Total Hours To Date: 7.7
Total Training Cost To Date: $2887.50
Total Books, Supplies, and Tuition To Date: $2109.48

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