View Full Version : R22 Trial Lesson Dilemma
19th May 2005, 18:17
I have noticed (or it could be coincidence) that if you bring to the attention of the student the fact that the cyclic cross bar is free to move up and down (and has no control effect) they are more likely to try and 'steer it' like a car.
If you don't mention it there seems to be less chance of them doing this. . anyone else noticed this?
To mention - or not to mention. That is the question!
19th May 2005, 18:43
I don't find this a problem.
If it is a trail lesson, I make an assumption that the student has no experience, so I take no chances. My arm is securely locked into my chest, hand on the cyclic. (This position eliminates the possibility of any sudden fwd / aft cyclic movement too.) My grip firm enough to make it practically impossible for the student to raise the cyclic crossbar. I essentially fly the aircraft throughout the flight. At first, I bassically guide their movements. For example, I suggest a left turn, and then 'guide' the cyclic left. It only takes about 3-5 minutes like this before a student gets the hang of it.
The other reason is that the student, if told so, will soon discover that the easiest place for them to rest their arm is on their thigh.
19th May 2005, 19:21
I havent noticed this, I have noticed that if you dont explain the t bar, they practically always do treat it like a steering wheel and raise it turn left. even if you do tell them a good proportion of people still try to do it.
no offence mate, but why dont you just let them have a proper go and just take control as they start to lose it, when i did my instructor course years ago the course instructor set great store on letting the punter have a go, and not influencing the controls, and this advice I always followed.
it is suprising how many people can fly quite nicely in the cruise on all controls if you give them a good go in a 30 minute trial lesson
19th May 2005, 21:36
OK. . fair enough. I must've just had bunch with an unusually high idiot factor lately. I will keep it in my briefing . . but some people just don't get it :confused:
I have to agree with CF, I slowly release control to them and keep the cyclic within the circle of my finger and thumb. I will try guiding them through a few turns though.
Arm out the window
19th May 2005, 22:09
On the subject of being on the controls at the same time as the student, I think it's preferable for the instructor not to 'ghost' on the controls at all; it can lead to uncertainty about who's actually driving the thing, and is of dubious training value (I reckon) - can actually be counter productive in certain circumstances.
Obviously you have to be in a good position to take over immediately if you need to, but I like to have either the student or me unambiguously in control at any one time, with a clear handover-takeover routine.
To demonstrate the size and rate of control movements, I get them to 'follow-me-through' on the controls - this is a briefed and clear exercise where I'm flying, and they have their hands and feet on the controls lightly feeling what's going on while looking in the places they normally would if they were flying (that's something that needs pre-briefing too). Control forces can't be appreciated in this way because I'm flying, but rate, direction and size of movements can be.
Then they have a go under direction with me off the controls but ready to take over when it starts to get ugly.
19th May 2005, 23:32
I essentially fly the aircraft throughout the flight. Now there's an novel instructional technique!
20th May 2005, 00:03
Thanks for the replies everyone...
I re-read my original post and agree / can see that it makes me look a bit paraniod! I didn't mean it to come out like that. Actually, my demo flights are not too dissimilar to most other's.
In fact I use the technique of guiding ('follow-me' type exercise) the student only for '3-5' minutes. Then my hand is relaxed around the cyclic handle, but still in position 'throughout' the flight. Johe02 and Arm Out explained it better than me.
The point about 'ambiguous' control is good. During training, this may hinder learning, and I avoid it as much as possible. However, for simply a 30 min. demonstration (trial) flight in an R22, I don't really care about 'qaulity of learning'. When a customer walks in off the street, I know nothing about them...so don't want to take any chances. For all I know, they might have epilepsy or something... I think the 'one-off / walk-in' flights pose an increased risk for this reason.
Added: P.S. The technique is very aircraft specific. I am way more concerned with abrupt surprises in the R22 than the 300CB of course. Give me a 'walk in demo flight', a little turbulance and an R22 and I am going to be rigid to prevent abrupt cyclic inputs. The same conditions in a 300CB wouldn't phase me at all.
I guess it's down to personal experiences....I have had a case where a demo student felt an updraft and went fwd on the cyclic. No drama, but it brought it home to me how 'unpredictable' the human mind can be. This was even after the SFAR73 required ground training (and video)!
20th May 2005, 05:42
If you used a proper helicopter with a proper cyclic you wouldn't have these problems.
Head down now !!!!!!!!!!
I always let the guys fly if for as long as possible and will postively show that I do not have hands on by waving at them !
20th May 2005, 07:06
I've gone off 'follow me through' a bit since a rather large and (unknown to me) petrified 'student' froze on all controls on take off. As the machine was rolling to the left I was saying, 'I have control. . I have control. .' It wasn't till I shouted 'LET GO OF THE CONTROLS' that he finally released and I was able to move the controls!
All good experience. . :}
20th May 2005, 08:22
Doing almost nothing but half hour trial lessons, I'm finding out what works for those, at least I think so....
I make the briefing short, with nothing but the absolute basics of what the controls do; they won't remember any more. I then tell them three things about the cyclic:
1) It's very sensitive, and large, sudden movements are dangerous.
2) It's not self-centering, so we need to know who's in control of it at all times.
3) The position where it works, and the fact it doesn't work at the joint for the T-bar; I use a diagram.
During the warm-up, I demonstrate how the cyclic works, showing the student how to rest his hand on his knee, and the fact he needs to move the whole control gently, not waggle the T-bar.
I then do the same thing in the air, and I demonstrate that waggling the T-bar doesn't work! If they're complete beginners, I don't bother with them following through; people can't really feel what's happening anyway.
I then give them control of the cyclic, keeping my hand very close to it, for 30 SECONDS MAXIMUM. Why? Because that seems to give them a feel for what's required, and they don't have time to tense up and do something stupid. I then tell them to relax, and that little and often works best...as it seems to. I go over how sensitive the cyclic is etc again.
I give them back control, but however well or badly they're doing, not for very long, probably less than a minute, unless they're a natural and are still relaxed.
I continue this process for the few minutes we've got, giving them control for a bit, then taking it back, gradually extending the time they have it, but not much unless they can obviously manage it. One thing I NEVER do is talk to them while they have control; they need 110% concentration just to fly - thanks for that tip, Mike Smith; it was worth it's weight in gold :ok:
I'm very, very far from being an expert, but this seems to work. My last few trial lesson students have almost all been able to keep the helicopter under reasonable control with the cyclic by the end of the lesson, and some even manage a gentle turn and fly us most of the way back to the field. A few even manage all three controls...not that you have to do much with the other controls in straight and level flight, but it's nice for them to feel they're flying the helicopter, if they're up to it.
Now maybe I should learn how to teach the rest of the course as well. :)
Arm out the window
20th May 2005, 11:57
Hughes 500, I must agree with you that the tilting cyclic idea is weird; give both student and instructor a proper set of controls - can't be that hard, can it?
Sabre Zero 1
20th May 2005, 12:17
Arm out the window
I completely agree!!!
Why in Gods name did Mr Robinson create this otherwise adequate machine, and then go on to ruin it with a substandard cyclic representing a push bike handlebar???
I'm no aircraft designer, but surely they could've provided separate controls, like the Rotorway Exec 162?!
20th May 2005, 13:30
I can remember seeing the 'push bike handlebars' for the first time and (after the shock of how small the R22 was) I was gutted. But it does make getting in and out relatively simple and, of course that wrist on your leg helps a lot when you are learning. . so the adjustment is very useful. . not cool though.
One thing I NEVER do is talk to them while they have control; they need 110% concentration just to fly
Mike Smith told me the same thing, good advice. Interesting to note he uses the opposite technique with a more experienced student to build 'capacity' :8
20th May 2005, 13:42
I am currently doing my PPL at the moment and will never forget the time I flew with one particular instructor who never let go of the controlls.
everytime I moved the cyclic I could feel his presence on the controlls trying to manipulate me to do something else.
after an hour of this we touched down and I had a horrible feeling of dissatisfaction as I felt that he flew it the whole time we me following through. As a result I never really got a feel for the aircraft so chose never to fly with this particular instuctor again.
Something for you insructors to be aware of.
you could lose work. (and we don't want that)
Interesting comment about never talking to your students when teaching to fly as mine was completly the oppisite
After a few hours I was still fighting to hover the thing untill my instructor asked me if "I watched the football at the weekend" I was so wraped up in the conversation that I dident realize that I had the aircraft in a near to perfect hover, untill my instuctor pointed it out, at which I proceeded to fight the thing again.
Maybe the answer is to know when to talk to them.
Sabre Zero 1
20th May 2005, 13:49
When I was learning on the R22, my instructor always moved me on to the next stage before I thought I was ready. And every time, without realising it at first, I would instantly get the hang of what I had previously been learning.
He also made a point of chatting with me when I was trying to hover, the result being that I stopped thinking so much about what I was doing, and it all came together!
It would seem that a certain ammount of distraction is good to stop you thinking too hard about what you are doing, and let it come natrually - it worked for me!:ok:
20th May 2005, 13:58
After showing Bloggs how to turn using the robbo cyclic, I get them to make a nice controlled turn, left or right and leave the direction up to them. They get the hang of it pretty quick.
I must have had the same fat bloke as you last week, I had to shout twice to get him to let go!
20th May 2005, 15:23
The instructor should absolutely advise the student about the cyclic in the R22.
Especially if the student is handicapped with previous experience as a fixed wing pilot. The yoke in a Cessna works opposite! I fly all types of controls from wheels and sticks to model controls and joysticks. Each type takes a good bit of practice. The R22 is the most different and it must be explained to older pilots that they may revert to instinct from long use of a control wheel.
I wish the instructor had advised me of this, he did not, I had to figure it out on my own wondering why I had lost control on the first lesson.
20th May 2005, 15:47
Trial Lessons are rather different to training proper, as Whirly identifies. Here in the UK at least, loads of people get given trial lessons as presents - the majority consider the thing a one-off experience. There is little intention to continue (prior to the FI doing his/her stuff that is)
When I did trial lessons regularly, I used to spend a lot of time on the ground watching and listening to the "student". The official title of the TL in the UK is (or used to be) air experience flight. Taking control (by the student!!i) s NOT essential. If you get an 80 year old granny flying for the first time, don't expect her to have all 3 controls is S&L !
This is not to say that most of my students did not take control, just that they were given the option not to - my brief was modified accordingly. And like Whirly suggests, I had a standard simple brief. If the questions showed more interest, they got more.
If some one is flying for the first time in a (VERY in the case of an R22) light aircraft, there is a mass of new sensations just being there.
Think back to your first flight........
Arm out the window
20th May 2005, 22:30
I was told by someone who flew with him about one military instructor here who always 'ghosted' on the controls, especially in autos.
After a while, this particular student realised that he wasn't getting to do very much flying at all, so next time round the circuit he just rested his own hands and feet lightly on the controls during the auto and watched as the aircraft 'magically' flew the power-off touchdown by itself.
Instructor's comment following the landing: "Yes mate, that one was much better."!!
I encountered this myself when playing student to conduct an instructor check on a guy; the sequence was hovering autos.
After he had demonstrated and directed me through a couple and I was supposed to be trying them on my own, I would feel the throttle wind off, the aircraft settle and the collective start to rise seemingly of its own accord, so I did nothing and let him go for it. Same deal - he was so used to ghosting that he didn't realise the extent of his own input and thought he was teaching effectively when in fact the 'student' never actually performed the sequence properly at all.
21st May 2005, 04:45
I ran into a somewhat hazardous by-product of that "ghosting" thing. I inherited a 50-hour R22 student (from an instructor who moved onward and upward) - we were practicing hover autos for the first time together. I rolled off the throttle, and the collective immediately went up (as did the helicopter). After the exciting landing, we discussed the maneuver, the student saying "I don't know what happened, I've never dont THAT before!" I demo'd one, then we tried it again, same result (immediate up colective), this time "I didn't do that, did I?". My unspoken response was "...well you were the one on the controls, who else could have?"
When we were debriefing the flight, it occurred to me that his previous instructor had most likely been unconciously resisting the upward force on the collective until the appropriate moment, then allowing it. The student was unaware the he was putting the up force on the collective at all, until he flew with me. Live and learn.
21st May 2005, 08:42
My first instructor "ghosted" on the controls, a lot in fact. Looking back, I don't think he was even aware of it. But at the time it caused me all sorts of problems. I seemed to be learning incredibly fast, and not finding anything that difficult. I didn't realise there were any problems till I had a check with the CFI prior to being sent for first solo...and I couldn't do takeoffs and landings!!!
Well, everyone sort of glossed over it, and said we'd carry on with the syllabus and do a bit of takeoff and landing practice at the end of every lesson, and I carried on with the same instructor. But now I was suspicious, and I'd worked out myself what must have been happening. And being more aware, I'd feel it too. I'd say to him, "But you were helping me, weren't you", but he'd swear he wasn't. One time we were hovering to land, and I just stopped lowering the collective, to test him...and lo and behold the helicopter landed itself!
By this time I was confused and upset; I thought he was deliberately tricking me and I didnh't know why. I didn't want to fly with him any more really. But I was too determined to go solo ASAP to want to rock the boat by asking to change instructor.
But the day after my first solo, with the confidence gained from that, I became really, really angry. I thought he'd been doing it deliberately, wasting my time and money. I phoned the school and said I could never trust him again, and either they found me another instructor or I was changing to another school! They did, and things were OK from then on. But it took a long time for that anger to go away. In fact, I stopped enjoying flying for a while, and felt disinclined to trust anyone.
Now, you can say I over-reacted - and of course I did. But nevertheless, that's the sort of thing that can happen. And the overconfidence I acquired through thinking in my first 20 hours that I was a natural helicopter pilot actually caused me all sorts of problems for a long while. I can't blame all that on my first instructor, and I don't; I didn't have to react the way I did. But it's worth bearing in mind that what you do as an instrutor, even early on, can have long term repercussions for the student, long after you're gone.
As a new instructor, I was quite determined not to make that particular mistake. As a result I probably gave my first students a little too much control, bearing in mind how new I was. I like to think I'm now approaching the right sort of balance, though it's hard to know of course.
Still, at least I learned something from my first instructor's mistakes!
21st May 2005, 17:29
In the military we used to have problems with student instructors who had never actually flown an engine off during their basic course because the QHI would often follow through so closely that the 'hand of God' would check and level at the appropriate point. So we had to build their confidence to do EOLs which often required 'sitting on our hands' so that they knew it really was all theirs. Once that confidence boundary was crossed the improvement was exponential.
As to distracting students, there is a school of thought that the left and right hemispheres of the brain are good at different things and that hovering is actually best done by the right (creative) side rather than the left (logical) side since things happen too quickly to rationalise them in the hover. 'Use the force luke', so talking to the student can engage the left side and free up the right side to do the complex stuff.
21st May 2005, 18:46
That is actually a very valid point Crab. To this day I still do not know if I have ever completely done a full down EOL as every time I have done one, the "hand of God" has been doing something or other in my peripheral vision. The Gods change but their actions remain a mystery!
Up & Away
21st May 2005, 18:56
Right with you on this. Give control and talk.
Students even when qualified say they are still listening!!
Even on a trial lesson I aim to give control with my cyclic hand well away 'counting' each second. If you have taught 'attitude' right whats the problem??