Commercial Oral Questions

Alchemy

Partner, Ally, Friend
On my stage-check "mock checkride" the instructor had me land the R44 on a frozen pond....hard to say just how wide the LZ was but the helicopter is about 40 feet long (38ft 1" OAL and 33 ft main rotor diameter); I'd estimate the pond was about 100 ft x 75 ft surrounded by 50 foot trees on all sides. I did it but it was pretty tight for someone inexperienced like me. He told me afterwards "I was expecting you to say no to that". Problem is the thing will sink down to the belly in the snow most of the time, even with the bear paws on the skids. I usually only lower the collective about halfway and say "OK, unless we have a really good reason this is as far as I'm going to let it sink into the snow".
 

badtransam97

Well-Known Member
On my stage-check "mock checkride" the instructor had me land the R44 on a frozen pond....hard to say just how wide the LZ was but the helicopter is about 40 feet long (38ft 1" OAL and 33 ft main rotor diameter); I'd estimate the pond was about 100 ft x 75 ft surrounded by 50 foot trees on all sides. I did it but it was pretty tight for someone inexperienced like me. He told me afterwards "I was expecting you to say no to that". Problem is the thing will sink down to the belly in the snow most of the time, even with the bear paws on the skids. I usually only lower the collective about halfway and say "OK, unless we have a really good reason this is as far as I'm going to let it sink into the snow".
You may already know this, but be expecting the helicopter to yaw when spooling up on slick surfaces as the governor takes over and jams the throttle to it...Ive spun an Astar several degrees from where we were pointed on a metal helipad that had a very minute layer of frost on it. The FADEC took it wide open and off we went LOL!
 

Alchemy

Partner, Ally, Friend
You may already know this, but be expecting the helicopter to yaw when spooling up on slick surfaces as the governor takes over and jams the throttle to it...Ive spun an Astar several degrees from where we were pointed on a metal helipad that had a very minute layer of frost on it. The FADEC took it wide open and off we went LOL!
Yep! A frozen ramp has been the way of life up here for the past 4 months or so. An additional concern on that first pickup is the fact that the warm helicopter coming out of the hangar will freeze its skids to the icy ramp, so you have to be sure to rock the ship with some pretty aggressive forward and aft cyclic + left and right pedal to break it free before you try to pick it all the way up.

Luckily I don't think the robinson makes enough lift/thrust/torque with the collective down to move the ship too much just by rolling throttle into the governor range. Does the Astar use a symmetrical main rotor blade airfoil? Cursory search show it uses an OA209 asymmetrical. The Robbies use a symmetrical NACA 63-015. Unless the Astar blades have a negative angle of incidence at full down collective, I could see how that might easily happen!

The R44 does yaw to the right pretty agressively on ice once you start raising the collective though, especially if you didn't have the pedals perfectly neutral and/or didn't apply the appropriate amount of gradual left pedal as you raised collective.
 

Making it Count

Well-Known Member
A question that should get asked in that commercial check ride but hardly ever does is “tell me the things you can legally do as a commercial pilot under 91 as soon as you pass this check ride?”. Or a question to that effect. You should be able to spit them all out. Heck in my opinion it’s one of the most important things that should be talked about in that check ride. Most of the other stuff is mainly private all over again. Most pilots will go straight into holding out, private carriage and common carriage stuff which should be talked about but there’s definitely more to it. There is a detailed list in FAR 119.

As a dual rated pilot I knew about the exemptions from getting my heli ratings but they were never even mentioned during my fixed wing training. The fixed wing CFIs I had, never even heard of it. I’m a CFI and II in both and did heli fist. Most fixed wing guys I talk to even to this day are completely unaware of 119.1 e. Truth is they kinda know vaguely what can be legally done but they don’t know the reg. Every CFI has things they really like to point out that often gets overlooked. That’s one of mine.

So I wonder. Was 119.1 e discussed in your check ride?

Congrats on passing your ride BTW.

Also if you fly that R 44 in the heat at a high DA it’s going to fly a lot different than what you are used to if you flew it in cool weather at sea level. Your gonna be like “this thing is a dog”. Then if you fly a R22 at that same place you may never want to fly a heli again. LOL
All my training was at a high elevation in Arizona. I flew both the R22 and the R44. Flying the 22 up there and then later at sea level was like two totally different aircraft. Same goes for the 44.
 
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