The Alps 2012

We have just returned from a fantastic two ship trip to the French Alps. Based at the Altiport at Megève for just over a week. We were joined by a number of Aeromega clients for some altitude appreciation flying which included the beautiful lakes at Annecy and Chambéry as well as practice approaches and landings at the Courchevel Altiport.

For a sample of the flying watch Ali’s video.

Altitude Appreciation from Airwolf Productions on Vimeo.

For a number of years Aeromega Helicopters have been one of very few operators accompanying adventurous helicopter licence holders deep into the French Alps to teach students about the hazards and rewards of flying in the mountains.

I just returned from an unforgettable trip combining instructing and filming in the mountains to share the pleasure with you all.

Flying in mountainous terrain has serious associated hazards such as limited power, localised mountain weather, up/down-draughting air, and human performance factors to name a few, however when approached with maximum regard to safety the rewards are simply mind-blowing and something that all pilots with a penchant for adventure and exploration should experience. We welcome anyone interested in flying to the mountains who would benefit from the reassurance of an experienced safety pilot to get in touch. Our instructors provide pre-flight briefings, local knowledge of the area and it’s altiports, sightseeing tips, and most importantly advice relating to safety of the aircraft and it’s occupants. Needless to say we also enjoy relaxing to a good meal and the excited recounts of experiences after a successful days flying.

If you are interested to find out more contact us at www.helitutor.com or www.aeromega.com

For filming enquiries contact us at www.airwolfproductions.com

Music by Deadmau5 – available here http://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/ghosts-n-stuff-instrumental/id330407877?i=330407991

Thanks for watching 🙂

A big thank you to all the customers who made this trip possible.

Chistmas 2011 News Letter

Hi Everyone, Merry Christmas.

It doesn’t seem a year since my last Xmas missive, but the unavoidable sounds of Slade and Wizzard in all the shops tell me that it is that time again.

Thanks

A big thank you to all of you who have continued to support us in the most difficult of trading conditions.  Fuel prices are at an all time high and the airport and authorities continue to want a bigger piece of the pie.  We are amazed that trading has stood up so well in a year when 4 other UK helicopter schools have gone out of business. Our success is wholly down to the support from our regulars, we very much appreciate your custom and look forward to flying with you all in the New Year. I’d also like to thank my fantastic team, Chelsea, Ian, Ali, Candy and Amina all work so well together to create a brilliant working environment and enable us to provide our service to you throughout the year. It’s a great place to work.

Currency

The weather is seldom our friend and many of you have found it hard to stay current.   Don’t forget that you can fly with an instructor at any time of the year when the weather is outside SFH limits.  It never does any harm to revise emergencies or try something more complicated than you would attempt on your own.  You’ll probably gain more from such exercises that repeated 28 day checks; you don’t have to wait until your LPC is coming up to do some revision.

This time of year it’s also good to try some night flying.If you have not experienced flying in the dark, I can recommend taking the opportunity to experience flying in the inky black and learning how different it is to flying in daylight. I can guarantee that between 1 and 3 hours of night experience will “open your eyes” to being in the dark!  Legal night starts as early as 16:30 at this time of year, so it is very easy to fit in some sorties without staying out too late.  It will sharpen your awareness and quickly convince you of the difficulties of flying after sunset.  Please book in with Chelsea.

GA Committee

Please find enclosed a letter and voting slip from the airport to elect a member of the General Aviation Committee.  I am delighted to have been nominated and would appreciate it if you be so kind as to vote for me.  Please ensure that you vote and return the papers by 23rd December 2011. It will benefit us greatly if we have a permanent voice on the board.

Prices

We were most reluctant to have to raise prices in the middle of 2011, but that, I am afraid is the economic reality. Our annual price review will take place in January and whilst we will do our best to keep increases down both hangarage and landing fees will rise and we will have to pass them on.

Location

As you will be aware, we were considering relocating during most of this year due to the airport’s desire to charge un-commercial prices for base operators. Thankfully they have relented enough for us to stay at Cambridge for at least another year. We have no desire to move but can only stay here if the financials stack up. We will keep you informed.

Overspeeds

G-RALA suffered a bad overspeed in October and has been out of action ever since.  We hope to get her back before the New Year and I am sure that R44 self fly hire pilots will be chomping at the bit to get current again. Don’t forget you can do a check ride on WEAT so that you are ready to SFH as soon as she comes back. Overspeeds continue to be an unnecessary drain on our resources.  I shall be posting an overview of them on the Company website to remind us of just how damaging lapses of concentration can they can be – both to airframes and pockets.  Please find time to read it – increased insurance costs are borne by everybody, so please do your best to minimise claims.

Trips

We would like to get a few more pilots coming along on our trips, preferably bringing passengers to make it a little more of a social outing. Please let me have any suggestions of places you would like to visit.

Merry Xmas to all of you and a Happy New Flying Year from all the team.

Duncan

Overspeeds

Overspeeds

One of the most costly incidents that we experience is an Overspeed. It is imperative that we, as a helicopter community avoid any more such incidents in the future.  Despite frequent discussions and reminders during continuation training, overspeeds occur far too often. Consequently,  here is a reminder of how they can occur and how they can be avoided.

Definition:

An overspeed occurs when either ERPM or RRPM or both exceed the red lines on the RPM tachometer.

Types of Overspeed

  • Engine RPM overspeed on start up
  • Engine & Rotor RPM during lift into the hover
  • Engine & Rotor RPM during flight
  • High Rotor RPM in auto rotation

Let’s look at each type individually and how they can occur and how to prevent them.

Engine RPM overspeed on start up

Cause

Engine is started – either by turning the key or pressing the starter button – without the throttle being in the fully closed position.

Effect

ERPM rises rapidly to exceed 104 %; governor does not have sufficient information to intervene before overspeed occurs.

Potential Damage

Scoring of cylinders, damage to push rods and piston seals and crankshaft. Damage to magnetos misalignment of the cooling fan.

Prevention

Follow the Company start up check list properly. Do not rush and do not skip steps.

The throttle must always be fully closed before and during the start process. Always ensure that the throttle is fully closed before you start the engine.  If the engine is reluctant to start you may prime by opening the throttle then closing it fully again before a second attempt in an R22 or using the key in an R44.  On no account should the engine be encouraged to start by cracking the throttle open whilst cranking the starter.

Engine & Rotor RPM during lift into the hover

Cause

Lifting without the governor switched on / governor faulty or non operational.

Effect

Without the governor switched on ERPM & RRPM will rise as the lever is raised.  The mechanical system of Correlation does not work outside the range of 17-21” MAP.  Consequently the needles will both continue to rise above 104% as the lever is raised. Whilst this may be counter-intuitive, it is nevertheless fact and will cause significant damage.

Potential Damage

Scoring of cylinders, damage to push rods and piston seals and crankshaft. Damage to magnetos,  Brinelling (crushing spherical bearings into egg shapes) of feathering bearings in the rotor head.

If the helicopter is flown in this condition for any length of time, overstressing of journals, rotor head and rotor blades, damage to drive shafts and main rotor and tail rotor gearboxes & hydraulic systems may also occur.

Prevention

Follow the Company check list properly;

Switch the governor on before start as directed;

Allow governor to set RPM to 104 % during wind up;

Allow governor to recover RPM after Low RPM warning horn check;

Check both sets of Warning Lights are out when directed.

Perform pre takeoff checks properly every time you lift. Things may have changed since you trained, our recommended mantra is now:

  • Upper Warning Lights Out
  • RPM 104% & governed
  • MAP
  • Lower Warning Lights Out (INCLUDING GOVERNOR)
  • T’s, P’s & Keys (set to both magnetos)
  • Fuel (Sufficient for flight)
  • Carb Heat Set
  • (R44 Hydraulics On)
  • Hatches & Harnesses
  • Area Clear, Left, Right & Above

Take off technique

When raising the collective to lift, pause at 17” MAP to check RPM is holding at 104%.  If it is not, then the governor is not doing its job but you will have spotted it before you exceed limits and cause damage.

Engine & Rotor RPM during flight

Cause

Governor failure, inadvertent switching off of governor, mis-handling of throttle, poor re-engagement technique following recovery from auto.

Effect

ERPM & RRPM do not remain within the Power On range:   R22:  97 – 104%, R44: 98 – 102%

Potential Damage

Scoring of cylinders, damage to push rods and piston seals and crankshaft. Damage to magnetos,  Brinelling (crushing spherical bearings into egg shapes) of feathering bearings in the rotor head, tail rotor drive shaft failure followed by loss of tailcone.

Prevention

Regular scan of instruments must include RPM tachometer and warning lights.

Governor usually ensures RPM is correctly maintained. Pilot must still monitor that the governor is working correctly.

Low RPM: Warning horn sounds indicating governor has failed to maintain RPM;

High RPM: No such warning received. Pilot must spot and gently roll off throttle till RPM back in the permitted range.

If RPM correctly set prior to take-off, governor failure is unlikely to take RPM far enough outside limits to cause significant damage. Use manual throttle to correct RPM gently.

NB: During auto recovery, ensure needles joined in the power-on range before raising lever.

High Rotor RPM in auto rotation

Cause

Insufficient check up on lever to contain RRPM rises due to disc loading / airspeed changes.

Effect

As rate of descent increases, updrafting air increases RRPM.  Failure to raise lever to contain RRPM rise may lead to RRPM needle exceeding Power Off Limit of 110%.

Potential Damage

Brinelling (crushing spherical bearings into egg shapes) of feathering bearings in the rotor head, over-stressing of journals and rotor blades, damage to drive shafts and main rotor and tail rotor gearboxes may also occur.

Prevention

Having entered autorotation, never forget to check up on collective to contain RRPM rise.

Avoid aggressive cyclic inputs during auto – fly smoothly & monitor RRPM throughout exercise.

Feel for increasing pressure on your backside signalling increasing disc load and check up again if necessary. Monitor needle re-engagement carefully during recover to climb.

Do not fly a helicopter above its maximum permitted all up weight.

What to do if you do overspeed a helicopter.

You must get RPM back within normal limits as soon as possible, land & shut down immediately.

Whilst the helicopter can probably continue flying, after damage has occurred, there is no guarantee, so be safe and make a sensible controlled precautionary landing.

You are legally required to report any unserviceability to the operator, so you must tell us what has occurred:-

  • Certain engineering checks have to made to ensure helicopter is airworthy.
  • Providing we can tell the insurance company what has happened and that it is Pilot Error, it is an insured risk and will usually be covered by the underwriters.
  • No other pilot will be put at risk by your error.

If you do not report an overspeed:

  • Repairs will not be covered by insurance and the owner will have to bear the costs, making them unlikely to hire out helicopters in the future;
  • An un-airworthy helicopter could remain in operation which could suffer a catastrophic failure at any time causing injury or even a DEATH for which you would be responsible.

It is therefore vital that any incident is reported. We always try to address such matters positively and retrain pilots when errors occur and are admitted. That makes for better pilots. You won’t be popular but providing you engage with us in rectifying the problems it need not affect your flying in the future.

Jetranger’s in town

Yesterday we started flying the Jetranger from Cambridge as we tend to do on an annual basis. The first customer to take advantage and try out the quintessential turbine aircraft. Don’t miss your chance, it’s a beautiful aircraft to fly!

Tim takes to the sky

A big well done to Tim Hage who took an R22 up for a spin all on his own today. A few circuits first with Ali and off he went, unaccompanied and unafraid, well at least that’s what he said!

 

Hintlesham Hall

We had a lovely day out today. Landed at Hintlesham Hall near Ipswich and had a very jolly lunch. Quite an advanced approach and landing, definitely worth doing it with an instructor before you try it on your own. Remember to re do the weight and balance after that lunch!

 

G-WEAT Goes to the races

G-WEAT went to Royal Ascot this year. Remember you can book to go to any major event and take an instructor with you to show you how it’s done. We’re more than happy to sit and drink tea and swap war stories with the other pilots in the mess tent whilst you go and enjoy the event. Just remember though as we’re there as safety pilots you’ll have to be fit to fly when it comes to the return journey! Something worth thinking about depending on how good the “hospitality” is at the event. However please let us know if you’re interested, it’s a great way to learn how to get in and out of these big events.

The Pheasant at Keyston

Back in April we rallied a few people together and flew to The Pheasant at Keyston. A very nice pub with good food and most civilised of all, they have a complete grass runway out the back. Many thanks to all who came along, Jon, Sarah, Guy, Sarah, Harry, Christina, Tony and not forgetting Ali and Ian.

For those of you interested in other places to land and eat then visit Ali’s compilation in Google Maps ingeniously compiled by asking a pilots forum for their recommendations. We obviously haven’t sampled them all so any feedback on any that you try would be more than welcome.

Oh, and please never drink and fly!