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Training Update...


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What a great week!

We started out this week with some more navigation exercises, but this time it was all low-level stuff. Now that's one **** of a way to fly! No pre planning apart from a weather check, just hop in and go. Bob was playing the part of a customer who wanted to go here, there and everywhere in between. I loved the challenge of finding bearings on the fly, estimating fuel needed, ETA's and all that stuff while buzzing a few hundred feet over some of the most beautiful scenery that Vancouver Island has to offer.

The next day I ran a similar trip by myself. It was amazing! The first leg was pretty straight forward, just up to Nanaimo. After a quick stop-and-go it was on to the west coast of the Island via the mountainous terrain along the way. What a trip. Not a cloud in the sky, high green mountain peeks in front, behind and flanking me, and waterfalls on every single one of them! I had been a bit worried I might get a little lost picking my way thru valleys charted out on the VNC chart, as we all know how (un)detailed they are. But my map reading must be improving as I made every turn where I should have.

At one point I felt I might have gotten a little lost as the terrain before me didn't quite match up with what the chart showed...big surprise. I felt confident about my position and crossed my fingers and followed what I thought was the correct valley. It was a narrow little sucker but if I was right I should emerge right between two long skinny lakes. And wouldn't ya know it, I come zipping out of it and there the two lakes are on either side of me. I let a out a big "Woohoo!!" and carried on my way. The whole trip lasted just under two hours and it's one I'll never forget.

The week was finished off with more auto-rotations and stuck pedal landings. Then I was given a proper intoduction to the infamous Vortex Ring State (start Darth Vader music). What a scarey beast that is! Just to be extra safe we did it up at 2000' and thank God. A very good exercise to go thru because I won't soon forget the feeling of the starting stages of it. That little shudder you get was quite distinct. The huge shudder, near loss of tail control and VSI swinging from 500'/min sink to over 1500'/min in half a second is also hard to miss. Glad the recovery is a breeze....if you're up at 2000'.

Also got to play the part of concerned pilot to an AME. While out on a nav trip I noticed an new whistling noise from the blades I'd never heard before. Since the recent track and balance work done I asked if it was a common sound to experience. He was as puzzled as I, so out we went to fire it up for a ground run. Turns out it's just the new doors and not the rotors. :lol:

Well, next time I write this I'll have written my big exam, and gone out on my big solo nav trip.

:up: Wish me luck! :up:


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Good for you Ryan


I have been instructing for about a yaer and a half, and I still re-live those first flights with my students. I get a real sense of pride in having an examiner say "good job", or the unbelievably large grin on a "first solo" pilots face. Having dedicated & switched on students makes a huge difference.


I haven't been to Canada since 98. Miss it lots though. Have family on Saltspring


AB :up:

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Ryan, consider yourself very lucky to have an instructor of the calibre you have - numerous new pilots (maybe even the majority - I may be going out on a limb here...) leave with licence in hand but without experiencing the extent of the emergencies and flying that you have been trained to react to and survive through. Your updates show a pretty comprehensive training regime going on at the school. I am sure with the breadth of experience (and outspoken posters - I meant that in a good way) that frequent this forum, your training would be critically examined and commented on, if anyone thought the training was lacking at all.


You should start writing for VERTICAL MAG, and give HELICOPTERS some competition to their Rookie's Column!! Keep up the good work!

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Ah...weekend time! Time for some well deserved R&R.

I never did get to do my big cross country flight due to weather....monsoon season, go figure. When the weather did finally clear up on we went out to practice some more confined areas, and man are they starting to get small. The decision making part is really starting to come in to play now as I'm asked to get us down in a general area and have to pick the best spot, if there is a spot at all. And of course there are always random engine failures or chip lights that need immediate attention. The flights were all ended with more stuck pedal landings or full autos to the ground.

Comming back from a flight yesterday I noticed an odd vibration that didn't seem right at all. The instructor noticed it at the same time and we were both perplexed as to what it was. It wasn't a huge shake, kinda like how it feels when approaching the Vne. Pulled on some carb heat just in case and after a few minutes the shake went away. Then this morning when another student was running up the Robbie, it killed a spark plug. Must have fouled up a plug when we were flying it the day before and the carb heat maybe burned off the deposits enough for it to run fine untill today. Oh well, better to destroy a plug on the ground than in the air!

I have also just come back from the TC office. It was a tough little exam. The usual 100 questions, 3.5 hours, four letter words muttered to myself. You know the deal. I had to use every single minute too, right up until the **** computer shut down and told me to get out. Can't have done too shabby though....passed it with an 85% average. Proud to say I got the highest mark in the class too!

So with that being said I'm giving my brain the rest of the day off. No flying. No reading. Just heading down stairs to the Spitefire for some pints. :up: :up: :up:

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You should be VERY proud of your marks too, they were excellent! The show that you have studeied, but they also show that you have listened to your instructors! You should keep this up, and then one day, YOU may be the one turning out such fine students!


Cheers :up:

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Aw shucks guys, you're gonna make me blush! :P Sorry to keep ya waiting but my PC has been at the doctors for a week. Thanks God my PC doc is my brother...free work baby!!

So time to get down to business as it's been a very busy and exhausting week in the air and on the ground. I've finally started getting some time in a flight sim for the instrument times needed. This thing is ancient, but it gets the job done and at less than 1/4 the hourly price of the R-22. It does ge a little boring turning and climbing and steering vectors, but good practice for sure.

To get a better feels of it in the real world we went out and did a few hours with the "Foggles" on. They're just your basic eye goggles with tape on them so all I can see are the instruments. Talk about concentration! I pretty much had to learn how to fly all over again. Once again the cyclic became uber sensitive to everything I did, even more than I knew it already was. And just when I thought I was getting the hang of it one guage would spiral off somewhere I didn't want it to. I always heard about how the body plays tricks on pilots when their eyes are taken away from them, but never believed it would be that bad. Guess there's no flying by the seat of your pants when your *** can't see where it's going!

Most of the week was spent either in one of the airports helicopter training areas, or close by doing the foggle work. The weather for the most part was about what you'd expect on the Island in mid November...ugly. But hey, what better weather to train in. My personal favorite for the week has a sphincter-pucker factor of +10. The instructor told me to head out and practice some solo confined areas for an hour if the weather co-operated. So while running up the helicopter and listening to ATIS I hear this...."few 14'000, few 17'000, FUNNEL CLOUD, yada yada yada." Now growing up in Edmonton I'm no stranger to funnel clouds, they're a common sight every summer. But out here on Vancouver Island!? Isn't that the 3rd sign of the apocolypse? Needless to say I scraped the confined stuff and just did circuits untill the winds were too strong for my comfort.

Then comes Friday. A bright beautiful day with no wind and nice fluffy clouds. Guess what that meant for me? Big solo nav trip time!! I'd had the trip planned out for weeks and just needed to input the current weather to fine tune it. But there was no wind anywhere, so no weather to input. Perfect! Loaded the R-22 right up to the brim with fuel, packed an extra quart of oil just in case, some pop and snacks for me and headed out the door. The trip would take me from Victoria to Tofino, on to Port Alberni for some fuel, then Qualicum Beach and back to Victoria. It was a round trip of 212nm and about 3 hours flight time. Factor in getting fuel in Port Alberni and then not being able to find Qualicum Beach and the whole journey took about 4 hours.

The first leg to Tofino was pretty relaxing as it was the longest leg of the four, about 1:15. The sky was fairly clear with the exception of the odd cumulus that needed steering around. I learned a very good lesson on this leg too dealing with clouds. While looking down at the map verifying my position I looked up just as I was about 8 seconds from flying right into one of these puffy ********. I threw the map on the floor, reefed up on the carb heat, dumped the collective and banked hard. I got lucky and managed to steer clear of it. Lesson learned...fly the helicopter not the map. The rest of the trip to Tofino was very nice and relaxing again. It was great getting there to find I had an airport almost the size of Victoria's to myself.

After landing I sorted out my map and got it ready for leg two to Port Alberni. I lifted off and was on my way again. Since there is a big chain of tall (for Van. Island) mountains between Tofino and Port Alberni I had to climb like crazy to be high enough to clear them by the time I got there. Not a problem in the Robbie with just me in it so by the time I hit the range I was at 5'500. And wow what a scene. Jagged peaks covered in snow rising near straight up from the ocean. At that point I kicked myself for not bringing a camera. I made Port Alberni with no trouble.

As I shut down so I could fuel up for leg three and nice Blue MD500 landed not far from me. I was already fueling by the time he'd shut down and we struck up a great conversation. Turns out he flys the 500 for Prism, and at one time did some training on the very R-22 that now sat before him getting fueled up. What a small world. I threw in the oil I'd brought, fired up again and was off to the needle in the hay-stack....Qualicum Beach.

It was only about a 15 flight if you knew where to go, but I made it into a 30 minute flight. Anyone who's ever flown to Qualicum Beach for the 1st time without GPS can probably sympathise with me. That is one **** of a hard airport to spot from the air. But I stuck with it and finally found the bugger. And it's nice too because even though it's such a small strip, it has a heli pad painted on the ramp. Cool! I flet like a dork after touching down though. I was re-organising myself and noticed all these people poking their heads out from in between hangers and staring at me. Thought they wanted to get a good look at the fool who'd been circling overhead for 15 minutes trying to find the place. It gave me the heeby-geebies so I got outta there asap.

The rest of the trip home was great. The sun was setting as I arrived at Victoria and was the perfect end to a perfect flight. I saw lots, and learned even more. And if there was still any lingering doubt, I knew then that I'd made the right choice about what I want to do with my life. Hmmm. I still have about 3 hours of solo x-country needed. Maybe I'll do the trip again but in reverse. Maybe. ;)

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