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Darren Goes To Flight School


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Another busy week done!


Lots went on this week for me - Monday was my echocardiogram as well as the radio exam (both OK!), Wednesday was the R22 type exam as well as the emergency procedures exam (both OK!). Yesterday was the Frank Robinson safety video and exam, and we were given a CAR practice exam to do on our own. I passed the practice exam, but not by enough of a margin to make me happy - looks like I'll need to brush up on some of my air law.


I also had an audiogram done on Wednesday. Despite the Civil Aviation Medicine website saying that any audiogram done within the past five years is considered current ( I had one done two years ago), I found out from phoning TC that this was not the case. I googled audiologists, and discovered that there's an aviation doctor right there at Springbank - Dr Brendan Adams. Very nice folks and very accommodating - I was pretty much a walk-in, but he put me in the fridge (that's what it feels like) and banged off an audiogram right there for $25. Pretty much all he does is aviation medicals (I think he can do the EKG there too), so I'll probably just go back there next time. Check 'em out at www.aviationdoc.com (not affiliated with them - I had a good experience and found them convenient, so I thought I'd pass it on).


As for flight stuff, much of the week was devoted to hover excercises, including landings/takeoffs, pedal turns, hover taxiing, and an introduction to power failures at the hover. Hovering is without a doubt the hardest thing I've ever learned to do! At first it was frustrating - almost discouraging - I felt like I was *never* going to keep that squirrely little R22 in one spot, let alone pointed straight...


But bit by bit things started to click. Some flights were better than others, and I find (still!) that the biggest obstacle to flying half-decent is my own mind. If I'm tense and nervous, it shows - my flying stinks. If I look out on the horizon and relax my mind (I almost need to *not* think about hovering and just let my hands and feet do it), then things go much, much better. It's getting easier to do this, but I still have odd moments of gross stupidity like where I fixate on my landing spot (which keeps moving around, behind, beside and way out in front of me :D), then I tense up and forget to watch the horizon. Some key points given to me by Richard through the week were:



-React NOW - a quick reaction means a much smaller correction is needed.

-I heard "you move too much" a lot, but I'm starting to hear it less now.

-Look outside!

-Take charge of the helicopter. Make it go where you want it to go! If things get away from you, slow down, look up, and stabilize the machine before doing anything else.

-Don't forget to have fun!


Yesterday, we started doing transitions and circuits. Boy, this is an *excellent* way to tie everything together, and I'm looking forward to doing more next week. It involves everything - takeoffs, hovering, translational lift, climbs, radio use, descents, various checklists, more hovering, landings. At this stage of my learning, there sure seems like a LOT going on; what with Richard's instructions, the radio going non-stop (Springbank is a busy place!), and - most importantly - flying the helicopter, my po' little brain's about to explode.


It's all good stuff, though. I will say that the learning curve is very steep, and though it is intense now, I think that's a very good thing. Richard is really good about instilling good flying habits right from the get-go, and there is no lenience or tolerance for sloppy or innacurate flying. Not flying in trim? I catch heck. Landed six feet to the left of my chosen spot? I hear "why did you land if you weren't over your spot?".


The learning curve means there's no resting on my laurels, either. I may have one really good day with lots of positive comments, but by the next day the same (or even a bit better) performance is expected of me. Sure keeps me sharp...


I kinda had a 'click' moment at the end of yesterday's flight. After a couple of landings that were each a few feet off my chosen spot, instead of Richard telling me to do it again, I said "hey, I don't like this spot - let me pick it up and do it again."


"By all means. We're here for *you* to learn - take your time and do it as many times as you want; now's the time to go slow, make mistakes and learn from them."


Too often I catch myself thinking that "I better fly the way Richard tells me to", so everything I do is a reaction to the instructions I'm receiving. With the above advice, I realised that hey, I'm the one flying this dang thing, and I need to make it do what I want, not what Richard tells me. If I don't like how I'm flying, it's up to me to fix it, or do it again until I get it right - especially this early in my training where I'm allowed to make mistakes :)


It sounds pretty silly as I type it, but it goes back to my own mind being my own biggest enemy.


Whew. PSTAR exam is on Monday. With a 90% pass mark, this is a big 'un, and it's got most of us sweating a bit, but I don't feel too bad about it right now, and after a good weekend of hitting the books I think I should be fine. I'm looking forward to getting this exam done, 'cause afterwards we don't have any official exams for a while, and we're on to weather and navigation, which I'm really looking forward to.


Thanks for reading!



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Hey there,


Sounds like yer doin' jest fine! Frustrated cuz ya wanna do better, eh? Settin' the bar high is both a blessing and a curse. Get used to it!


Gettin' all that stuff dialed is harder'n teleskiing breakable crust with an overnight pack on. Gotta relax AND give'er. It'll all come with time.


Take it easy, but take it...



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Gettin' all that stuff dialed is harder'n teleskiing breakable crust with an overnight pack on.


I've been there!






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100% on the PSTAR :D


That, and a wicked-cool flight in the afternoon. More circuit practice, with every one of 'em ending in a full-down auto :punk: .


I'm starting to get the hang of upper-air entry to the autos, and I even got to do some s-turns here and there. I still want (and need) lots more practice with when/how much to flare, and when to level/wait/pull collective. Cool thing is, I will get to do lots more practice. These are a hoot!


I should expand on that - autos are a hoot so long as one has a nice flat runway (and clearance), a fully functional engine should things not go just right, and an experienced instructor sitting in the left seat.


There was a 10-15kt wind today, so we didn't skitter that far down the runway during the full-downs, and as we were almost in translational lift in the hover, takeoffs were pretty straightforward (when I managed to keep 'em over the white lines in the middle :wacko:).


Richard showed me a couple 360º autos (holy steep bank angles Batman!), and even a zero-airspeed followed by a reverse flight autorotation. What a bizarre sensation that is! The zero-airspeed auto feels like you're just hanging there in mid-air, and then he pulls the cyclic back, the nose comes up, and we see a whole lot of sky as we drift backwards. Funky! :afro: Then it's forward-cyclic, watch the airspeed come up, and soon enough I hear "you have control".








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