I don't believe you are correct in your view about my quote of the regs, either about my intention or the conclusions to be drawn. I was just interested to remind myself what our UK regs said about the issue. They say that a rated pilot must always be at the controls "in flight", but the articles ShyTorque and I quoted make it clear that ground runs are explicitly NOT "in flight". The UK CAA has gone to some lengths to exclude ground runs from any requirement to have anyone with particular qualifications, training or experience at the controls. The regs permit a passing Tesco shelf-stacker or estate agent to do ground runs.
In my experience, where I have worked it has always been pilots who are asked to do ground runs. The engineers I have worked with have never shown any inclination to do them (unless they also were rated pilots). I have always welcomed the opportunity to get involved in maintenance activity, even if it means staying late. As a pilot and non-aero engineer I want to learn as much as I can about what I fly and the people who maintain the aircraft I fly. I think SASless has it right about it being a useful joint exercise.
However, in principle, there cannot be any good reason for restricting this role, so long as the person who does it has the training and experience to do it safely. In this litigious world, you better make sure that you have that training and competence written on tablets of stone. I suspect that is why, in my world, pilots are asked to do the ground runs.
Someone raised the idea that it must be possible for engineers to do ground runs, because the aircraft was under maintenance and therefore not available for flight. I am not sure that is a helpful boundary to draw: one does not follow from the other. Is anyone going to say that an engineer should fly a helicopter during tracking and balancing flights, because it is part of maintenance?
Last edited by Helinut; 3rd Mar 2012 at 09:12.
Reason: to add ref to pilot/engineers
Helinut: My apologies if I misunderstood your post, as I'm sure you can understand, the problem with quoting regulations is that these and there interpretation can vary from one geographic location to another - sometimes quite significantly. But the general concensus does appear to suggest that engineers performing helicopter engine ground-runs is permitted athough as you say, some may be reluctant to do so.
I can recall two occasions where an aircraft had been damaged during ground runs. One was where the main rotor actuators had not been connected to the helicopter's roof and the other was when the pilot forgot to release the main rotor brake. It was dark at the time so he did not realise the rotor brake was overheating until the apron started getting obscured by smoke. The first case defies belief but could have been avoided if the pilot had done a customary walk round. In the latter case with an engineer it would be unlikely to happen because all the engineers I know in the fixed wing world use a checklist.
Using a checklist, if only occassionly to keep yourself up to speed, would have avoided both situations.
some machines can fly even at ground idle & if she starts to play up & wanna start to fly....oooooooow scary remember 'Hog' -'get away from that thing, after he wrote that H269 off & miraclualusly not himself
As the addidge goes; anyone with the correct amount of training can do it, including Pilot's. Hence if an Engineer is also PPL(H) or higher, then of course they should & can safely start that fling wing contraption
"The safest way is how the RAF engineers used to do Chinook ground runs (possibly still do).
They removed the rotor blades."
The last time I called up a Blades-Off Ground Run (on a Mk1 at Gutersloh) it was done by a pilot (well, I think it was a pilot?) who became nervous when I pointed out 80 open Jobcards and a crewroom chair for him to sit on.
Rotors turning time is no longer logged in any company I have been involved with,it is flight time only that is logged and to the minute now not to the nearest 5 asit used to be. I have always been expected to respect duty hours, surely it is common sense to utilize engineers on site rather than to call pilots in so wasting duty time. We ceased doing ground runs a while ago because of insurance issues so its a bit academic.
Last edited by mtoroshanga; 4th Mar 2012 at 13:07.
Insurance is the main reason ground runs are being done less by engineers. That being said, insurance companies are responding to things that have gone wrong during run ups. I have seen an engineer cook a turbine on a start, pound out the striker plates on an MD369 by starting with the cyclic off centered (hell of a racket), and I myself did a 180 degree spin running an AS350 on an icy pad (scared the s**t out of myself). Things can and do go sideways during a run. Granted training was an issue in all the fore mentioned incidents, however, the simple fact is, as engineers we just don't do it often enough. As a younger engineer I thought it was better not to bother the pilot for the run but now I am happy to bow to their experience. I would rather have someone at the controls who can respond in an emergency.
This was purely an Engineer induced catastrophe.....the poor ol' Chinook was to be shot up with various sizes of things that go Bang. The Engineers rigged up a remote engine control system....chained the old girl down so she could not escape....and the rest is history as they say.
People start panicing about rotor bladeless ground runs. The Puma series have an accessory drive function that is available if the customer wants it. It disconnects No 1 engine from the MRG but still enables it to run No1 Alternator and No 1 Hydraulics. Its a spin off from the Fred Karno attempts to have a self-propelled undercarriage. I was asked to do a run on a 332 with the rotors removed as it was in storage and needed to be run. The engineers were concerned about rotor overspeed so I had a long briefing warning me about how fast the rotor would speed up without any blades on. About twenty years previously I had done runs in accessory drive. The engineer was sitting beside me as I started the engine and it settled at ground idle.
When I slammed the governer lever into the flight gate his face was a absolute picture.
The reason it was discontinued was not because of a flight problem; it was finger trouble. For some reason a crew, 2 pilots, decided to to a disconnected drive run. They did this properly but when they re-engaged it they omitted to insert the locking pin which explained the noise just after startup. The pins were wire locked and later gearboxes did not incorporate the facility. Anybody who has an INTERNATIONAL 332 manual can see the levers on the left hand side of the thottle quadrant. On the aircraft they are the uncut blanks.
hydraulically powered wheels
It was actually a baby tank track either side so it could not retract. The nosewheel had a snow ski arrangment so it could cross ditches. The test vehicle was a load of angle iron with a hydraulic pump and seat that that had the same footprint as the aircraft. When it set off in Marignarne there was a board in the hanger with times up to ten minutes on it. This was the sweep and when the inevitable bang and squealing came from the distance somebody would collect the money.