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The Tail Of The Tiger (astar)


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I have a question that's been bothering me for a while. The tail of an Astar dips down pretty low to the ground if you flare (particularly downwind) on short final. I try to make constant attitude approaches with the skids landing flat at the landing area. A few times during my career I have screwed up and felt the stinger touch the ground. It's fairly easy to do and I try to be very careful.

 

A few years ago a couple of heli-ski pilots were telling me how many times they stuck their tails in the snow while skiing. One guy even said to me "ski a whole season and I bet you'll do it a hundred times". Just a little while ago a fellow was telling me that on almost every landing he makes during ski season he sees the evidence that someone stuck their tail in the snow there recently. Sometimes it's just the stinger mark, but sometimes there's a squiggly track in the snow beside the straight track the stinger makes.

 

Is it possible to heli-ski without sticking your tail in the snow? One guy told me that he knew he'd screwed up every time it happened to him, but I think that some people think this is normal... and I have never skied, so haven't been presented with the opportunity to decide for myself... but I know that I don't want to ski if it means I have to stick my tail in the snow frequently...

 

Anyway, I'm not trying to stir anything up... I think that safety always has to come first and this seems like a pretty big deal to me.

 

HV

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My landing in snow is the same as doing a pinnacle landing in the mountains, zero airspeed and minimum collective at touchdown. In other words fly it into the ground with the nose touching first or flat. Works in soft snow and or brown outs in Africa. Never touched a tail rotor.

 

To each his own.

 

Cheers, Don

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That is exactly the way I try to do it Don. I find that in sand or snow you need to shoot a perfect no hover approach, don't panic at the end, lower the collective smoothly when you feel yourself touch (because you can't see anything at all sometimes) and wait for the dust to settle (or whatever it is in the air). Maybe the pressure to get it done so quickly in heli-skiing makes it almost impossible to do properly? There has to be some reason why so many guys have told me the same story.

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Yikes !!! Anyone else see the red flag?

 

Running the tail rotor through the snow, landing in potential brown or whiteout conditions without a reference and not doing things properly because of customer pressure!!!

 

I hope I am misreading these posts because if not I am truly dumbfounded.

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Yikes !!! Anyone else see the red flag?

 

Running the tail rotor through the snow, landing in potential brown or whiteout conditions without a reference and not doing things properly because of customer pressure!!!

 

I hope I am misreading these posts because if not I am truly dumbfounded.

Anyone who thinks that touching the tailskid to the ground on landing is normal is nuts, but this is typical of the attitude of some heliski and helilogging and seizmic production pilots who value a few seconds saved over safety every time. They are heroes to their bosses and clients, but the frequent damage and unnecesary repairs to the helicopter and engine, from the overtorques and overloading, are never taken into account. To their bosses this damage is "normal". Also, no one who knows what they are doing flares anywhere near the ground.

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As long as you come to a zero airspeed condition, the Astar will land flat. Give that extra 1/4 second in a very brief hover and you'll have no worries.

 

I've seen the guys throwning the thing around, big flares on short final close to the ground, they're the ones striking stringers and TR's. Be smoothe, go for zero A/s landings, and you'll fine.

 

AR

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I have years of 350 skiing, and it is NOT NORMAL to have your tail touch the snow. It can happen, it's easy to have that "third track", but if you fly a normal loaded aproach, it is rare. I have skied alongside some guys who made that third track on a lot of landings. I just got on to 122.8 and warned them about what they were doing.

A very experienced OK/CHW/CHL Pilot/Instructor (who I'm buying Dinner for tonight) once told me that always make sure that you're checking forward on the cyclic on landing, as if you ever come in a bit hot and you check backwards, you'll be making tail tracks in the snow...or worse.

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Well, my 2 bits.

 

I don't have that much ski time but,,,

 

In training I was taught as all the pilots were. No flaring at or near touchdown, constant attitude landings with no hover. Fly to the stakes with a steady sight picture. A few times, I saw my stinger track in the snow, however, only in very low dense snow and on lakes or long flat bowls. Consider when you are pushing snow with the doors as you exit the bird, the snow would offer very little resistance to the fuselage as you settle into the snow. I think that because of this one could easily touch the stinger or rotor as you would have to get fairly deep into the snow before leveling out and the tail coming up. On one occasion I landed, and shutdown after pounding the bird in as much as I could. At that time I got out walked 2 metres and turned back to watch the Astar sink in the tailsection so that the snow level was about halfway up the lower vertical fin. Thankfully she was shut down, so no problem, shovel out a little pit around the tail area and off you go.

 

Anyways, I think it can happen from time to time but a steady diet of putting the tail in can't be a good thing. Whether it damages anything is another question? All you can do is be consistent with your approaches and make sure the landing is at least level and not sloping up at the tail, or better yet with an overhang. Gotta love the pinnacles!

 

OR...

 

Fly the 407! :up:

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RainMan, don't you be landing your 407 on much of a nose-down slope, or be landing hot or checking back on the cyclic.

The blades will whack the top off the LH Finlet...it's happened with our 407s a few times now.

 

OH, I hear that you are getting Mike O'Rielly's personal cream-puff 407 .. C-FMBG :up: Don't be spill'in any Beer on that Leather interior :D

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