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Heli-skiing Tips & Advice?


Curley

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Good day folks,

 

I'm wanting to listen to any ideas, tips and advice from all of you who have had any time flying on heli-ski operations. As well, what ya'll think is /are the best aircraft for this work?

 

Take er easy, and if you can't take er easy....tie er up!

 

Thanks,

 

Curley

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Good day folks,

 

I'm wanting to listen to any ideas, tips and advice from all of you who have had any time flying on heli-ski operations. As well, what ya'll think is /are the best aircraft for this work?

 

Take er easy, and if you can't take er easy....tie er up!

 

Thanks,

 

Curley

Unless you have lots of mountain time and limited viz then dont do it

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So, Scubasteve,

 

You would recomend that a fellow who's only experience is in great visibility flying the prairies jump into a fully loaded 212, fly and land where where down drafts and snow clouds are common every day occurences? Sounds like a recipe for disaster to me.

 

Mark

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Ahhh, the very professional response - I guess thats how one learns how to do anything in life. Unless you have a bunch of experience with certain things dont bother trying something new!! A great way to getting progression in life.

There are certain things called 'qualifications' for getting a job. IMHO Ronnyrotor is right as far as flying on a ski job, if you don't have mountain time and low viz experience, a machine with a bunch of lawyers in the back is not the place to learn.

 

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So, Scubasteve,

 

You would recomend that a fellow who's only experience is in great visibility flying the prairies jump into a fully loaded 212, fly and land where where down drafts and snow clouds are common every day occurences? Sounds like a recipe for disaster to me.

 

Mark

Fortunately this wouldn't happen! Any operator out there skiing with 212's wouldn't put a green ski pilot behind the controls of a 212 without knowing said pilot was qualified. As mentioned, mountain time, (which gives the appropriate low viz time) is essential as well as at least a moderate amount of time on type. Skiing should be learned in a controlled, low pressure environment, like a one group private. For as long as it takes to get a handle on the the game. It's not rocket science but definetely has it's challenges. I personally love it, must have fallen on my head as a baby! But in the right environment it's a fun, challenging way to spend the winter.

An Astar/407 is an easier way to figure out how to ski, the 205 isn't too bad either but the 212 is the one type where you need to be on the ball, well ahead of the machine and know what the wind is doing without a doubt. Bee consistant with your approaches.

 

My 2 pesos

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I put this together as a basic information package on heliskiing. It's not everything that you need to know, but it's a start.

 

In the past some have ripped it apart, I suppose that's to be expected on the internet. Take from it what you can. If anybody has something to add to it, please do.

 

Dave Weir

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are several things to consider before a days work heli-skiing. The following are just a few:

 

1) Weather:

1) Your personal level of training and visibility limitations (are you half mile rated?)

2) What are the temperature and the due point, and how will it effect your day?

3) Fog and cloud in relationship to imbedded snow.

4) Is there going to be any icing, where and at what level?

5) What is the weather trend for the day? How will it affect you?

6) Find the wind direction and the speed.

7) Use the WAT chart for the 212. For the Astar, will you be torque limited or NG?

Power management is critical in mountain flying, do everything that you can to insure that you will have sufficient power to provide safe approaches. This being said the weather is usually the largest contributing factor in heliskiing mishaps. Arm yourself with all the information that you can. Use the discreet radio to get information on the weather in other places in the tenure. “Operation white thong” is a humorous way of getting the point across that the weather is unacceptable for continued operations. Pull out and go home.

If you’re flying more than one group, anticipate how long it’s going to take you to pull out all of your groups compared to how the weather is degrading. If need be, shuttle groups to a place that can be used as a staging area as you pull the other groups out of the hills.

 

2) Mountain Flying:

a) The recci, gather information on:

1) Wind speed and direction; find the line of demarcation, both good and bad air.

2) Available references at the landing area. As well as available reference for an aborted landing.

3) Terrain, slope and obstacles. Use and eye level pass, where is the tail going to go? Is the spot level? How deep is the snow? Will the blades clear the reference once the nose sinks in?

4) Approach and departure paths.

B) On Approach be sure to always:

1) Plan your approach paths using your best reference, including your abort.

2) Plan your approach so that you remain un-committed for as long as possible.

3) Leave yourself an out until the last possible moment.

4) Complete a power check before you’re committed to the spot.

5) Plan a level touch down, no sideways movement.

6) Avoid a large run on landing.

 

Never:

1) Loose sight of your reference, sliding past your stake or rock. Be sure to have control of your rate of closure.

2) Flair at touchdown, you will put the tail into the snow.

3) Commit to the spot before it is necessary.

4) Assume the wind at the landing area.

c) Departures:

1) Vertical take off to clear out of the snowball from the rotor wash, also to clear the tail rotor from the clients.

2) Do a power check before committing to a take off; be sure that the skids are free from the snow. Don’t assume that you have the power.

3) Maintain your reference at all costs.

4) Getting a full group off the bottom of the hill can be the most challenging piece of flying that a pilot will do during a days heliskiing. Picking up at the base of a glacier with level terrain behind is a maneuver that will take lots of power. Be sure, if not, split the group.

3) Reference Management:

a) Always maintain your reference. If this is becoming difficult then maybe its time to get out of that area.

B) Always turn towards your reference; never give it away until you have a fix on your next reference.

c) Remember that scale can be very difficult to judge. Be sure of the size of the object that you are, half buried steak, or a tree (is it big or small) think about how the illusion will affect your rate of closure.

d) It is harder to go downhill than uphill. Don’t get suckered into going for the landing when the vis is poor. Once you are there, your only half way. Once you’re off the landing in poor visibility, control your ground speed. Diving for the valley in bad weather is a recipe for disaster.

e) Have the demisting on before the clients get in the machine.

4) Operations:

a) Always maintain good communications with whom ever is flight watching.

B) Staking new landings with clients on board will be done (as all things) at the pilots discretion, and saved for sunny days and favorable winds.

c) Your job is to fly the helicopter and decide where and when it is safe to fly and land, not the guides!

d) Don’t park the helicopter in an area that is exposed to avalanche.

e) If you are uncomfortable, or unsure, don’t do it. Error on the side of safety every time.

5) Customer Pressure:

a) The most common heliski accidents are lack of sufficient power to land or take off and loss of visual reference, the question is what happened? Why did this experienced pilot find himself in that position?

B) Guides are not pilots, and have no say in aviation related decision making. Red flag phrases; “We can always get in there” “The last guy had no problem” “The rest of the groups are staying out” “It was fine a couple days ago” RECOGNIZE BAD ADVICE.

c) Other peoples decision making should not affect yours. Very small difference in weather, loading, comfort levels, experience can make the difference between go and no-go. Make your own calls and stick by them.

d) Make good safety calls, no matter what the customer says. We will back you up, every time. Heliskiing is no different than any other type of flying, our limits stay the same.

e) One half mile flight visibility, clear of cloud at all times. Max gross weight or below, always. Remain within the c of g envelope during all stages of your flight. Remain clear of icing. If you are unsure, don’t do it.

 

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I put this together as a basic information package on heliskiing. It's not everything that you need to know, but it's a start.

 

In the past some have ripped it apart, I suppose that's to be expected on the internet. Take from it what you can. If anybody has something to add to it, please do.

 

Dave Weir

 

 

 

Excellent advices, not that I have any experience in heliskiing and as a note it is not my kind of stress but I do have mtn experience and i liked what I have read.

Even with my total flight time in the 5 digits I WOULD SIT there for a while and watch the pro doing it, as a matter of fact I would just sit there and enjoy the view that's it

 

Good show Dave

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