Put 2 hours on a G2 yesterday. A very humbling experience! Alex was superb, all smiles and encouragement in the face of my ham-handed, or perhaps I should say, ham-footed
As someone with 100% Robbie time only, comfortable in both the R22 and R44, I was surprised at how different the G2 was to fly.
What I liked about it: clearly it is well built and well engineered. It just exudes quality. The cockpit is quite plush and very comfortable. I'm vertically challenged and yet did not feel like I needed a seat cushion. It can carry a lot of fuel. Access to the engine for inspection is outstanding. Can't see the cooling fan, though. Engine instrumentation is outstanding. Startup and shutdown goes much more quickly. Start up is easy. Pick-ups and set-downs are not hard. Flying around the pattern it is smooth, stable and it is easy to hit your speeds, altitudes and angles once you figure out the numbers (the MLI really helps) and make friends with the trim system. With the trim system it's quite amazing to be able to take your hand off of the cyclic. Auto's were a piece of cake, although at 50KN they are steep (even steeper with the 20KN wind that day). Surprisingly, the auto's went so well that Alex talked me through my first full down auto ever! (Remember, they are not typically done in the US below the CFI level.)
Random thoughts: storage volume does not appear to be that much greater than the R22. Rotor disc appears so small! And those blades are not that far over your head, either. VSI could be better positioned. The little door lanyards are clever, but one wonders about them if you needed to get out in a hurry.
What I didn't like: the controls feel very stiff, with a lot of effort involved in moving them around. They are perfectly good controls, of course, but even accounting for the mismatch between my Robbie muscle memory and what it needs to be for the G2, I suspect that even if I someday have the opportunity to master the G2 I will still prefer the R22 over the G2, and hydraulics best of all. It was also all too easy to pull through MLI limits. The R22 and 44 seem much more forgiving in this area, although again that might just be a matter of pilot experience.
Finally, my nemesis: the fenestron. Wow, what a difference that is! And boy, my pedal work was atrocious. In addition to the fenestron surely some of that was also due to the fact that the power pedal was now on the "other" side. Although I never felt like I put in the wrong (opposite) pedal at any given time, surely I was probably more reactive than proactive. Again, all honor to Alex, he warned me that I would cuss, and cuss I did! The 20KN breeze added to the adventure. At the end of two hours I was finally able to fly a hover pattern without it looking like it was my first hour in a helicopter. My inner jury is still out on the fenestron. I feel like if I ever have the opportunity to master it I would still not prefer it, though.