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Old 3rd Jan 2013, 14:41
  #20 (permalink)  
Jack Carson
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Durham, NC USA
Posts: 359
Not all Autorotations are Equal

To add to SASlessí concerns there needs to be a discussion of the auto rotational flying qualities of the newer generation of single engine helicopters and present training standards. In the not too distant past, full touchdown autorotations were a significant part of helicopter training curricula. The training helicopters during this period exhibited very benign auto rotational flying qualities including a significant amount of rotor system inertia. This combination permitted safe repeatable full touchdown autrotations. This was a requirement during this era of helicopter operations do to engine reliability of the times. As engine reliability improved and the requirements for helicopter performance improvements grew, the requirements for full touchdown autorotation training and helicopter auto rotational capabilities were relaxed. My experience come from many hours of experience flying the entire line of Bell machines from the B-206A to the AH-1T. In all cases, I was provided with the opportunity to perfume full touchdown autorotations in all the machines including the twin engine model T, all without mishap. On the flip side my limited experience in the AS-350 leaves me believing that my experience in the Bells did not directly transfer to the A-Stars. The higher disk loading and lower rotor inertia in the A-Star makes a full touchdown autorotation a more precise, less forgiving maneuver. I hope that others here on PPRuNe will be able to relate to this discussion with experiences from other helicopters past and present.
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