Helicopter crash in NYC

Oxman

Well-Known Member
What good is an instrument rating if a pilot never uses it?

95% of the helicopters flying are not certified for IFR (at least not single pilot). So, you get a rating that you never use and are no where near current in, what's the point? At least this was the thinking of the FAA when they made the rules for helicopter pilot.

These days, most helicopter pilots study and earn their their instrument rating after PPL while time building for their CPL just like fixed wing pilots do. The theory is that if they ever run into low IMC, they can climb, declare an emergency, and get vectored to the nearest approach. Even in a non certified (but IFR equipped) ship like a R-44, a pilot should be able to find his way home.


I'm a CPL helicopter, but don't have an instrument rating in rotary wing aircraft (obviously I do for fixed wing). I'll get that someday, but for now my fixed wing IMC time leaves me confident that I could fly ing the clouds if I needed to.
Interesting. I had no idea that was the norm. I see the Cleveland Clinic helos go by all the time. This being Cleveland, cloudy is the norm and just assumed IFR was just like FW flights. Or having a CFI Helo a IFR cert was the normal progression. So... all of this and that autorotation practice thing. Helo will never happen for me. Even as the son of a Vietnam Cobra/Huey pilot.
 

MikeD

Administrator
Staff member
But not 70kts on 10 mile final
The only place 70kts is required on the final segment as well as the MAP is on a civil Copter GPS IAP (mil copter GPS procedures are TERPS for 90kts). But I agree, 10 miles is a bit of overkill in compliance.

Anytime im flying any IAP in airspace where there are airplanes or other traffic that is going to fly approaches, I advise ATC of what my final approach speed is going to be in order for their planning purposes, since many facilities don't routinely control copter traffic flying IAPs. Obviously not needed for places like Army Airfields or such.
 

Roger Roger

Paid to sleep, fly for fun
The program I fly for has on the rotor side copter LPV approaches to hospitals all over Puget Sound and AFAIK all helos and Pilots are IFR approved.
 

MikeD

Administrator
Staff member
The program I fly for has on the rotor side copter LPV approaches to hospitals all over Puget Sound and AFAIK all helos and Pilots are IFR approved.
The EMS companies require an instrument rating, even though the majority of the single pilot helos arent IFR authorized, though they are equipped. Some of the larger helos that are single pilot sich as EC-135 and bigger, can get IFR certed with the whole autopilot in lieu of.
 
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deadstick

Well-Known Member
Along the lines of what @MikeD and @Lawman have written, the progression has been PPL, CPL, CFI....and maybe IR if needed for a job.

There isn’t a 172-equivalent helicopter to rent and get some weather time. There are some that are IFR-equipped, but not certified. Just now the FAA is looking at making changes so aircraft like the the 407GX (G1000) can be certified.

 

Murdoughnut

Well sized member
For those that have experience in both, is RW IFR flying more inherently challenging than FW IFR flying? Just asking out of curiosity.

My amateur guess is that the nice thing about RW IFR flying is that you get to DH and don't see the runway environment, you can just stop there and wait :p
 

Roger Roger

Paid to sleep, fly for fun
The EMS companies require an instrument rating, even though the majority of the single pilot helos arent IFR authorized, though they are equipped. Some of the larger helos that are single pilot sich as EC-135 and bigger, can get IFR certed with the whole autopilot in lieu of.
Yeah, these guys are full IFR. I know our dispatch board shows restrictions if Methods has a non-IFR PIC or aircraft at a base.

I don’t know that Methods knows what to do with an IFR operation though...one of our now-retired Lear guys flew on the rotor side for a loooong time before he got fed up with as he put it “some 20 year old in a cubicle thousands of miles away telling an IFR pilot in an IFR ship that he couldn’t take a flight because of rain showers in the TAF”. Also having to do a pax briefing for the med crew every flight, logbook entries for filling medical O2 tanks....
 

Roger Roger

Paid to sleep, fly for fun
For those that have experience in both, is RW IFR flying more inherently challenging than FW IFR flying? Just asking out of curiosity.

My amateur guess is that the nice thing about RW IFR flying is that you get to DH and don't see the runway environment, you can just stop there and wait :p
Two things I think from a non-rotor perspective....1. A helo won’t fly hands off at all making an autopilot or SIC a physical necessity not a regulatory one. 2. I’m not sure how functional or widespread known-ice gear is in helos.
 

NovemberEcho

Dergs favorite member
The only place 70kts is required on the final segment as well as the MAP is on a civil Copter GPS IAP (mil copter GPS procedures are TERPS for 90kts). But I agree, 10 miles is a bit of overkill in compliance.

Anytime im flying any IAP in airspace where there are airplanes or other traffic that is going to fly approaches, I advise ATC of what my final approach speed is going to be in order for their planning purposes, since many facilities don't routinely control copter traffic flying IAPs. Obviously not needed for places like Army Airfields or such.
Well sometimes you get the B206’s etc where 70kts is about the most you’re going to get out of them.
 

MikeD

Administrator
Staff member
For those that have experience in both, is RW IFR flying more inherently challenging than FW IFR flying? Just asking out of curiosity.

My amateur guess is that the nice thing about RW IFR flying is that you get to DH and don't see the runway environment, you can just stop there and wait :p
Attempting to hover in IMC with no station-keeping devices will send you to spatial-D hell faster than anything.
 

MikeD

Administrator
Staff member
Two things I think from a non-rotor perspective....1. A helo won’t fly hands off at all making an autopilot or SIC a physical necessity not a regulatory one. 2. I’m not sure how functional or widespread known-ice gear is in helos.
They fly hands-off fine IF an appropriate amount of cyclic friction is used for non force trim helos, or the appropriate trim for trim-equipped helos that otherwise don’t have any SAS or FPS systems.

However, too many pilots who fly light helos, fly then with next to no friction on the cyclic, so indeed when they let go of the controls, the bird falls off to one side or another pretty quick. I fly with a fair amount of cyclic friction and a modest amount of collective friction, that way I can go hands off to write stuff down or flip through an approach book or such, and the bird stays straight and level. Collective, I have a little less friction on so I can still bottom it out quickly if the engine fails and my hand doesn’t happen to be on it at the time. Otherwise flying an instrument approach is no big deal single pilot. But regulatory-wise when carrying revenue pax, it requires the SIC or autopilot in lieu of.

Many modern medium to larger sized helos have anti-ice and deice systems on them. No light helos I know of are so equipped, and a number of older medium helos aren’t equipped either.
 

deadstick

Well-Known Member
Also having to do a pax briefing for the med crew every flight, logbook entries for filling medical O2 tanks....
Like RW pilots teaching indoc to the FW pilots — a recipe for disaster. Pre-2015(?) change “You don’t need weather reporting at the (IFR) destination.” “Yes we do.” Or “if you’re vfr and the ceilings/vis go down, just ‘slow down and go down.’”

As for the O2, that was a maintenance function in FW. IIRC the regs allowed us to change out individual tanks (small Ds), but to recharge the installed Lifeport tanks required maintenance and a wrench.
 

deadstick

Well-Known Member
Even with an IFR pilot and aircraft, it can go sideways fast.

WRT speed on the approach, maybe @MikeD can shed some light on this, but RUMINT is that this guy got too slow and the AP kicked off.

 

deadstick

Well-Known Member
By the time the helo pilot gets sandwiched between the rapidly closing gap between undercast and terrain, he had already effed-up 10-15 minutes ago. :)

They missed the first step — ACCEPT.

If the pilots perform a good preflight wx analysis, and they still get stuck, they shouldn’t fear FAA/company reprisals. Until we have 100% weather reporting coverage that’s 100% accurate, it’ll happen. It takes the the company to allow (spend $$) for proficiency flying too to maintain the skills.
 
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