Go Back  PPRuNe Forums > Aircrew Forums > Rotorheads
Reload this Page >

Helicopter Ground-Runs Performed by Engineers/Mechanics

Rotorheads A haven for helicopter professionals to discuss the things that affect them

Helicopter Ground-Runs Performed by Engineers/Mechanics

Old 1st Mar 2012, 20:58
  #21 (permalink)  

Avoid imitations
 
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Wandering the FIR and cyberspace often at highly unsociable times
Posts: 12,431
Doesn't it say "rotors started for the purpose of flight"?
ShyTorque is offline  
Old 1st Mar 2012, 21:04
  #22 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Florida
Posts: 65
Pilot/engineer ground runs

The relevant reference in Europe is JAR-Ops 3.210(d) which requires specific rules be layed down as to who may run the helicopter apart from qualified pilots. This is expanded in an AJC OPS 3.210(d). Normally once the rotors are turning the helicopter is capable of flight or toppling over. Therefore as a general rule we allow only qualified pilots but other personnel may be cleared under laid down provisos.
Pofman is offline  
Old 1st Mar 2012, 21:19
  #23 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Anglia
Posts: 1,906
AnFI,
"qualified" without giving a specified trade (pilot/eng) or standard (course/licence) means that local training to company satisfaction (company authorisation) is possible. = Company trained "personnel" could do it.

I am not saying the CAA/EASA would allow it - but it shows a bit of a hole in the rules.
Rigga is offline  
Old 1st Mar 2012, 21:20
  #24 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: After all, what’s more important than proving to someone on the internet that they’re wrong? - Manson
Posts: 1,513
The recent AS350 accident in Brazil where the helicopter was destroyed on the ground by severe vibrations after landing brings to mind the perennial question of helicopter engine ground-runs being performed by engineers/mechanics.
Really? How does that "bring to mind the perennial question?"

I thought this aircraft had a pilot in it.
RVDT is offline  
Old 1st Mar 2012, 22:37
  #25 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: UK
Posts: 14
I thought EASA regs stated helicopter flight wast "Engine Start to Rotor Stop" and that a "helicopter must have a rated pilot on board at all times during flight".

Never understood how this worked with solo students though. Also I've noticed that a fully rated pilot will turn down the honor of ground running an aircraft if his LPC on type has expired stating that it is not legal - so how do us lowly mechs get away with it????

On the subject of engineers doing ground runs, I do know a guy who spun an R44 on the pad when he opened the throttle to quickly. Don't think he'll do it again though.
Amatsu is offline  
Old 1st Mar 2012, 23:59
  #26 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: UK
Age: 66
Posts: 1,368
There is more to this than the legal guff, but in the UK this may be relevant:

UK ANO

Article 256.—(1) An aircraft is deemed to be in flight—(a) in the case of a piloted flying machine, from the moment when, after the embarkation of its crew for the purpose of taking off, it first moves under its own power, until the moment when it next comes to rest after landing;

[Another bit of the ANO says you have to have a pilot at the controls if you are in flight. By default then, if you are NOT in flight (as defined) anything goes].

So, if I understand it correctly, our leaders have decided that it is perfectly legal for a non-pilot to be in control of a rotors-running helicopter, so long as you do not plan to get airborne.

I recall some while ago, we were all told that we should never let a student start-up without us, following an accident on the pad.

As a piece of legislation trying (presumably) to control risks on a rational basis, it has more holes than the swiss cheese.

Am I right in thinking that an accident occurring during ground runs may not even be required to be reported as an accident, on the grounds that it did not happen during flight (as defined)? Just an engineering incident!

For me,(I think prompted by some pilot mentor in my past), if the rotors start to turn, I am flying it. Harness on, headset/radio on and ready for anything. The hazards start up as soon as the rotors turn: the rotor blades do not know what the intended purpose of the start is.
Helinut is offline  
Old 2nd Mar 2012, 04:37
  #27 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: May 2000
Location: Phuket
Posts: 297
Really? How does that "bring to mind the perennial question?"

I thought this aircraft had a pilot in it.
RV, if the AS350 had operating RPM the pilot should have brought it to a hover. For some reason the pilot did not do this. It would have been a non event. If the RPM was low you have to ride it out.
We are assuming pilots can hover, mechanics cannot. However I have seen mechs who can hover better then me.

The "perennial" question; should mechs do full RPM run ups or not. I say overall no. It is too easy to get it airborne accidentally or otherwise. Ground idle only or at least tied down so hard ground resonance cannot occur.
before landing check list is offline  
Old 2nd Mar 2012, 09:18
  #28 (permalink)  

Avoid imitations
 
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Wandering the FIR and cyberspace often at highly unsociable times
Posts: 12,431
CAP 393 Section 1, part 8, page 2:

(5) For the purposes of this article, a helicopter is in flight from the moment the helicopter first moves under its own power for the purpose of taking off until the rotors are next stopped.
So strictly by the book, an engineer can legally start the aircraft from cold, but he can't take over "rotors running" then stop it after it's first moved under its own power....
ShyTorque is offline  
Old 2nd Mar 2012, 11:20
  #29 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: 'Stralia
Age: 54
Posts: 227
Regardless of the rules (and I expect we all want to meet the "spirit" of them).... I would suggest it is incumbent on all of us to ensure the safety of those involved in any operation.

As a student I have been taught (in the 300CBi, and yes I know it looks like a chicken carcass) that while cooling the machine down at 2500 RPM the machine is at Flight Idle and demonstrably capable of flight. And it is, at those RPM/RRPM a good turbulent gust could flap the disk etc. and cause an issue if you are not on top of it. If you can autorotate at the equivalent RRPM, the machine, given the right angle of inflow, can sustain flight even with collective down.

Whether you are 1, 3 or 15 feet in the air at that point, who knows? But at that point you should know how to deal with it.

Begs the question among the instructors ..... who jumps out and lets the students do the shutdown on a windy day?

None of this is meant to suggest that an Engineer/LAME cannot do a ground run. Of course they can if trained and certified to do so. They are likely more capable than the student left sweating in the cockpit with the checklist in hand.

p.s. There WILL come a day when I no longer need an Instructor, as far away as that seems. I have yet to have a day though when I do not need an Engineer/LAME and can't imagine a week when I won't.
Peter3127 is offline  
Old 2nd Mar 2012, 11:58
  #30 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: stateside
Posts: 157
I think the Brazilian Astar is a special case. Having done a fair bit with AS350s i can tell you that they dont get ground resonance without some serious issues mechanically, landing gear dampers with no oil, skid springs flat and bearings shot in the AVA.
They certainy dont shake apart without having a few days of increasing divergent ground resonance that is either handled by the pilot or sorts itself out as the rpm changes on run up or pulling the throttle to idle.
Should have been dealt with way before it got to that point..

As for ground runs im with Robinson, pilots only unless the aircraft is secured to the ground (not for multi blade aircraft through, cant tie them down)

The other issue no ones mentioned is trying to get some lazy ass pilot to do ground runs because "theyre so busy".
Sometimes its quicker to do it yourself!
TukTuk BoomBoom is offline  
Old 2nd Mar 2012, 12:00
  #31 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: mobile
Posts: 242
In the Air Force I was in the engineers fle with the helicopters at all times as well as carrying out servicing at base. They were also winch operators and primarily air gunners. On positioning fllights we flew for roughly half the flight generally and received instruction from our designated pilots.
I have been in aviation for fifty years now and have accumulated about 4000 hrs on everything from Alouettes to AS332s and including Bells and Sikorskys throughout the range.I object to doubts being cast on my abilities by the likes of SAS who I know and others.
mtoroshanga is offline  
Old 2nd Mar 2012, 13:18
  #32 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: "Deplorable but happy as a drunken Monkey!
Age: 71
Posts: 16,434
I object to doubts being cast on my abilities by the likes of SAS who I know and others.
Did I mention you by name?

I do believe i suggested the "best" qualified individual be at the controls....and as even as much as I value all the experience and ability Engineers bring to the work place....there was no slight meant when I reported my choice for run-ups being a Pilot rather than an Engineer.

Now depending upon exactly which Engineer it might be.....I might in fact have some grave doubts as to their eligibility and competence to perform run-ups as there are some that I would rather not approach an aircraft for any reason much less to fire the puppy up for a ground run.

As I only suspect who you really are....in this case i can not state categorically which class of Engineer I would place you in.

I like the idea of Pilots and Engineers working together as an integral part of a team dedicated to maintaining the aircraft to the highest standard. Likewise, there is a great amount of knowledge that can be transferred both ways during such interaction that benefits both Pilot and Engineer. Unlike most ex-Military Pilots (particularly American), I do not see a "class" (rank) difference between Pilots and Engineers. I see both being parts of the same puzzle.
SASless is online now  
Old 2nd Mar 2012, 13:22
  #33 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: After all, what’s more important than proving to someone on the internet that they’re wrong? - Manson
Posts: 1,513
before landing,

if the AS350 had operating RPM the pilot should have brought it to a hover
Show me that in "black and white" and I will agree with you. i.e. the statement in the approved RFM.

BTW if you check the RFM of most EC products under Minimum Flight Crew and the local NAA definition of "flight" you can only use a pilot. Unfortunately the statements are not uniform across models of the same type!

As Tuk Tuk sez - 350's do not decide to come apart as a matter of course. There is a mechanical problem.
RVDT is offline  
Old 2nd Mar 2012, 18:30
  #34 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: May 2000
Location: Phuket
Posts: 297
RD, I have not flown a AS350 for quite awhile however I always was taught and I teach that if it has RPM to fly then bringing the machine to a hover is the remedy for ground resonance. Is this not so? I have no RFM in front of me, if you do what does it say?
before landing check list is offline  
Old 2nd Mar 2012, 19:13
  #35 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Ventura Ca U.S.A.
Posts: 219
So some babys don't want mechanics to do run ups on helicopters and for the "government" to add more "rules" for so called safety?

3 questions.

1. how many idiot pilots you think should stay away from aircraft all together?

2. how many idiot mechanics you think should stay away from aircraft or even bicycles?

3. Looking at the track record of governments, You must ba an Idiot moron to ask for more regulations from any government that can't even ballance the frigging national budget.

Training & good communication is the answer. Not government.
hillberg is offline  
Old 2nd Mar 2012, 19:31
  #36 (permalink)  

Avoid imitations
 
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Wandering the FIR and cyberspace often at highly unsociable times
Posts: 12,431
Hillberg, isn't that only two questions, plus a statement of opinion?

Which one is the post on this thread where someone asks for more government regulations? As if there weren't enough already....
ShyTorque is offline  
Old 2nd Mar 2012, 20:21
  #37 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Ventura Ca U.S.A.
Posts: 219
Caught it. Communication.
hillberg is offline  
Old 3rd Mar 2012, 02:51
  #38 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: South East Asia
Posts: 397
Many thanks guys for the quality and helpfulness of your replies. It does appear that a significant majority of us are in favour of, or at least have nothing against, engineers/mechanics performing helicopter engine ground-runs - but with proper training and strict limits on what can and cannot be done - no objection there.

To Troglodita (#20) and Helinut (#26) I would say that your referred definitions are for 'flight time' which is used by pilots, i.e. flight and duty time limitations. Also, remember that apart from post engine wash drying runs, the helicopter is probably unserviceable (if an engineer/mechanic is running it) and therefore the question of 'flight' is not applicable. However, if you meant the amount of engine operating time for maintenance tracking purposes then this is calculated by using 'time-in-service' and is not applicable to ground operations.

EN48 (#17), nice one......
Saint Jack is offline  
Old 3rd Mar 2012, 03:26
  #39 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: stateside
Posts: 157
"Unlike most ex-Military Pilots (particularly American), I do not see a "class" (rank) difference between Pilots and Engineers. "

You making more friends Sasless?
TukTuk BoomBoom is offline  
Old 3rd Mar 2012, 08:41
  #40 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: 1°21'10.20"N - 103°56'36.21"E
Posts: 294
Amatsu: am not a flyer or a fixer, but, out of curiosity, as you mention a case, if an engineer spins a helicopter, what happens to insurance coverage ?
ecureilx is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information

Copyright © 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.