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Full On Autos

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Insurance companies don't write anything in without the company approving it. Companies do this to get cheaper rates and hide behind my insurance won't let me do it. Just like all those big companies that insist their insurance company won't let them fly low timers. Yet the start up and MA and PA companies can fly low timers and do full on auto's.

 

Thats so true. I know of one operator that is one of the largest in Canada if not the largest and in my neck of the woods they always do full ons with some restrictions not sure if thats the case with all there bases or not. Now this operator has been around for ever and the people in the right places probably understand the industry and the benefit of doing them. Yet most other big companies, like just looking has said come up with the insurance excuses. But I also know of a lot of big operators that are owned or bought out by some rich guy that does not have any experience in the helicopter world and there upper management usually ends up being just as inexperienced as the changes start coming. But hey Im not the one cutting the cheques I just get to see the results of penny pinching. But like Just Looking has stated if the insurance companies are preventing low timers as well this industry is going to be a lonely place in the years to come. Be a bunch of old guys beating around that can't remember what its like to actually land a auto.

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Where I work it's a little different as the person writing the cheque is the public (or Government) and it happens to be a world class training facility. All emergencies here are done to touch down/full on. That includes stuck pedals, left/right or neutral, hydraulics off to landing, hover and taxi engine failures and auto's to touch down. we do straight ahead, 180's, 360's zero speed, range variations and low level from 250' both turning and straight. I even got to do a couple form skids clear of ground ( maybe a meter or so...) at 100 kts! to full on touch down ( I didn't even know it was possible when I went through school?). Now that was cool! Mind you some of the senior guys here have done so many to touch down that they stopped counting after 5000 or so....!?!?! One guy I work with could put a 206 in the bed of your pickup truck, he's that proficient....... seriously!

 

We also do multi-engine emergencies to TD, not auto's (upper air only) but governor change overs, hydraulics failures and OEI landings.

 

The standard is consistent here and the proficiency flying is irreplaceable.

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Well Letitsnow, it looks like this might be the perfect place for a 100h guy !! After so much training,(and Some exceptions) any body could fly this safe !

 

How about new regs in the industry ? Putting special training ahead and create a box where lowtimer could get credits ?

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Insurance companies don't write anything in without the company approving it. Companies do this to get cheaper rates and hide behind my insurance won't let me do it. Just like all those big companies that insist their insurance company won't let them fly low timers. Yet the start up and MA and PA companies can fly low timers and do full on auto's.

Good point and you are most likely exactly correct JL. I completely agree.

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Thats so true. I know of one operator that is one of the largest in Canada if not the largest and in my neck of the woods they always do full ons with some restrictions not sure if thats the case with all there bases or not. Now this operator has been around for ever and the people in the right places probably understand the industry and the benefit of doing them. Yet most other big companies, like just looking has said come up with the insurance excuses. But I also know of a lot of big operators that are owned or bought out by some rich guy that does not have any experience in the helicopter world and there upper management usually ends up being just as inexperienced as the changes start coming. But hey Im not the one cutting the cheques I just get to see the results of penny pinching. But like Just Looking has stated if the insurance companies are preventing low timers as well this industry is going to be a lonely place in the years to come. Be a bunch of old guys beating around that can't remember what its like to actually land a auto.

 

I was talking with one of the senior training pilots for this same company. I was actually a little surprised to learn that they train full-on autos all the time. I assumed they didn't.

 

I'm not a pilot but I know from working with plenty that each to a man feels better knowing they can take the machine safely right to the ground when an engine packs it in. Good on any operator who decides to take on a bit of extra financial risk to possibly save lives and equipment later on.

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There are many more factors involved than "company policy". I have done many full on autos and given the time of year and the type they are safer in my opinion than power recovery. I am not a fan of throwing the throttle lever in gate of astar and hoping the governor takes hold and keeps it in the green. However to a rough runway which grinds the shyte of skids and tail skid..is no good. However if it is 34 degrees with no wind,,is no good.

 

-5 with a 206 is awesome,,,+30 and no wind in 206 is not.

 

You have one 204 in the fleet in may and want to be ready to make money,,,,maybe do power recover. 204 in power recovery is quite docile and gentle.

 

Right tool for the right job.

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I know of one operator who stopped doing some emergencies as they had a very costly mistake during training. You can't tell me that it is cost effective to roll machines into a ball, or burn up engines.

 

Much more cost effective to do more training in simulators. Where the price of doing expensive mistakes is a couple minutes and a reset rather than a ball of twisted aluminum.

 

Having done a multitude of both kinds of autos, I see the benefit of both, but everyone has a bad day, and I rather that bad day be in a sim, rather than training in the real aircraft. With consequences far worse that twisted pride.

 

If you can get the machine to a power recover, you can get the machine to the ground.

 

If you can get into the mindset that you will do anything to save the machine first, then you can actually save yourself and the pax too!

I do this selfishly, I save the machine, I will most likely walk away too! If I don't there are no guarantees.

 

How much money do you spend on insurance?

Is it worth thrashing a machine in an accident during training, or is it better to do power recoveries?

 

All opinions, and in the end comes down to the operators pockets.

 

Cheers

H.

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I agree with you Winnie that anything you can do in a sim is better than doing on a real a/c. However, most VFR operators don't have that luxury.

 

The biggest problem with power recovery autos is that it tends to breed a certain level of complacency as to "making the spot". Trainees (and I've been a victim of this myself) who are in a training regime where no full-ons are practiced tend to not worry too much whether they're a little long or a little short at the bottom and end up finishing the power recovery over unsuitable ground for a touchdown. The biggest benefit of doing full-ons in my opinion is it really forces you to focus on making your spot.

 

I like it when my training captain says "we're going full-on, so make your spot !", rather than "ok, we'll see how things are presenting themselves near the bottom and I'll decide if we're doing a full-on or a power recovery". You just don't have the same motivation to perform. When you're with a training captain who's very comfortable with his a/c and who really knows the envelope, you really get to see how far you can go with it. In my experience, having worked at two different companies where autos were almost never completed to the ground, the focus was on having a nice airspeed, glideslope, rotor RPM, flare, all very smooth and clean, but you never finish to the ground and let's face it, unless wind speed & direction are perfectly stable throughout your training period, it's difficult to be super smooth and clean and finish 10 feet above the exact same spot every time. When the focus is on making your spot, even if your attitude isn't perfect, and you get to the flare a little fast or a little slow, and all your parameters aren't perfect, you're going to get that machine to the spot every time. And as far as I'm concerned, in a real emergency, that's what matters.

 

So personally, every time I enter an auto, regardless of whether I know we're not going to finish to the ground, I really focus on making my spot...

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A superior pilot, uses superior knowledge to avoid situations that will require their superior skills.....an old adage that speaks volumes.

Having said that, kudos to companies that go above and beyond on their training programs to produce quite frankly a better pilot to obtain those skills that one day may be called upon.....!!!!

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