PPRuNe Forums


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

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 5th Dec 2017, 10:02   #1 (permalink)
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Nov 2017
Location: Bristol
Posts: 25
Skids or Wheels

Here is a question from a fixed wing pilot.

This question relates to the AW109 in Air Ambulence operations in the UK.

Why do they have retractable wheels and not skids, as they prequently land on soft areas such as parks, fields, beaches, snow and playing fields. There are two reasons for asking this, is that landing three tonnes of helicopter on what are small wheels, it strikes me that on soft ground the helicopter could sink far enough to deform the wheel bay doors and cuase all sorts of havoc with the landing gear. My second point os landing on wheels as opposed to skids on unknown areas it could be all too easy to place an whel on an old well, drain, etc.. My thinking is that wheels are more convenient for pulling the helicopter out of the hanger, yet ploice EC335 helicopters managa ground handlers on skids.

This leads me onto another question, in the event of a double engine failure, during a forced landing would you land wheels up or down on a AW109. I have seen from the left hand seat an EC335 do a simulated double engine failure and landing, it was quite impressedm but I am less confident as what would happen in a AW109m whells up or otherwise.

Finally from an anti collision perspective, on the AW109, do the landing lights retract with the gear?
anchorhold is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 5th Dec 2017, 10:15   #2 (permalink)

Avoid imitations
 
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Wandering the FIR and cyberspace often at highly unsociable times
Posts: 11,145
There's no hard and fast rule, but generally speaking, utility aircraft are often better on skids. Passenger aircraft, especially where the helicopter has to taxi close to people or structures etc. are better on wheels, to avoid excessive downwash issues.

Having flown both, though, landing "off helipad" on wheels isn't as much of a problem as you seem to think. It's not a matter of just plonking the aircraft down and hoping for the best, a good pilot will "feel" his/her way down as each wheel makes ground contact and reposition if unhappy. Slope limits are usually more of an issue.

On the A109, at least on the ones still in production, have landing/taxi lights built into the undercarriage sponsons, so they aren't affected by undercarriage retraction. They also have a steerable search light under the nose. For those who do require skids, Leonardo (Agusta Westland) fairly recently announced a skidded version known as the Trekker. I've not seen one yet, though.

Edit: As for landing wheels up....are you serious? The landing gear absorbs energy....and is fitted with brakes

Last edited by ShyTorque; 5th Dec 2017 at 10:40.
ShyTorque is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 5th Dec 2017, 10:29   #3 (permalink)
 
Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: On land
Posts: 75
The most authoritative position on this issue is that ‘skids are for kids.’

😉
Nescafe is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 5th Dec 2017, 10:52   #4 (permalink)
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: the land of redemption
Age: 46
Posts: 241
Ehm.....

Very busy commercial traffic airports normally deny entrance to skids helicopters due to FOD that could be trowed in the direction of parked aircrafts by the main rotor wash.
This is true for NON Hems helicopters.

On the other hand, multi purpose helicopters with wheels could be equipped with bear paw mobile skids for winter/rainy season, in this case gear retraction would be impossible.

Landing lights are deployable regardless of landing gear position.
maeroda is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 5th Dec 2017, 12:14   #5 (permalink)
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Wanaka, NZ
Posts: 1,152
Quote:
Originally Posted by anchorhold View Post
.. is that landing three tonnes of helicopter on what are small wheels..

...landing on wheels as opposed to skids..

...in the event of a double engine failure, during a forced landing would you land wheels up or down on a AW109...
1. I sank to the axles on asphalt whilst re-fuelling at an airport in a S76, so yeah, you need to be mindful of that.

2. wheels (3 points in contact with the ground), tends to be more stable compared to skids with off-site landings at unprepared HLS.

3. you always land wheels down, whether 1, 2 or no engines are working. Unless you had a landing gear extend unsafe in which case you hover whilst ground support pulls the gear into place and pins them. If one of the MLG refuse to extend you can land gently on the belly with gear retracted.
gulliBell is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 5th Dec 2017, 12:19   #6 (permalink)
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Wanaka, NZ
Posts: 1,152
Quote:
Originally Posted by maeroda View Post

..Landing lights are deployable regardless of landing gear position.
Not quite. The landing light on a S76 is bolted to the right MLG strut with an electrical interlock to ensure it's off with gear retracted. The landing light only works with the gear down. The S76 also has a pilot controllable search light that can be used with the gear up or down. Typically however pilots will have both the landing light and search light on for night take-off and landing, so when the gear goes up you still have use of the search light.
gulliBell is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 5th Dec 2017, 12:24   #7 (permalink)

Purveyor of Egg Liqueur to Lucifer
 
Join Date: Nov 2002
Location: Alles über die platz
Posts: 4,622
Aaaah, the old Lynx '7' v '9' banter;

Quote:
The most authoritative position on this issue is that ‘skids are for kids.’
😉
... and 'wheels are for w-anchors'

SilsoeSid is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 5th Dec 2017, 13:19   #8 (permalink)
 
Join Date: Jun 2016
Location: South of Africa
Posts: 172
wheels are for transport, skids are for fun
Runways are for Beauty queens
Bell_ringer is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 5th Dec 2017, 15:41   #9 (permalink)
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Hobe Sound, Florida
Posts: 526
Some background on this subject, as applied to one user community, arising from the US Army UTTAS design requirements ( short version ):

In 1969, the Army initiated studies aimed at a UH-1 replacement. It should be remembered that the UH-1 started out as a med-evac machine, but which morphed into a combat assault vehicle due to Vietnam requirements. The Army used UH-1 accident and combat data to form the new requirements. For the landing gear, the crashworthy requirements arising from the accident/combat data decided the issue in favor of wheeled gear. A secondary operational issue in favor of the wheeled gear was that wheels alleviated the need to always hover a fairly heavy machine into its parking position, etc..

As I said, this is one segment of the user community who must address a demanding operational environment.

Last edited by JohnDixson; 5th Dec 2017 at 16:44. Reason: punctuation, year error
JohnDixson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 5th Dec 2017, 15:51   #10 (permalink)
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: OS SX2063
Age: 47
Posts: 998
I'll show my hand as I am directly involved with the AW109 HEMS operation in the UK.

The 109 has no more issues in the HEMS role than any other aircraft in relation to skids or wheels in unprepared landing sites.

We occasionally have to reposition in boggy fields due to the wheels sinking, no more than we've seen skidded helicopters having to reposition on uneven rocky surfaces or unable to land on some slopes. Bear Paws are available, we've never felt it necessary to install them though.

I am not aware of even brake pipe damage (the most likely thing to break in my mind) as a result of HEMS landings in an AW109, the company flight safety system has no mention of any occurrence of incidents like this.

I would suggest that if an AW109 HEMS aircraft got bogged down so deeply that damage was caused to the aircraft, that a skidded aircraft would probably have not wanted to land in the same site either.

The taxi and landing lights as others have said are in the fixed portion of the Sponsons.

A steerable light is standard, 2 on the newer model are available as a factory fit.

One of the aircraft is hangared about 1/4 of a mile from the spot it sits on during the day and towing it is not an issue.

Wheels definitely get selected down for every landing , no matter 2,1 or no engines running.

The AW factory pilots used to demonstrate engine off landings to the ground years ago, I believe full EOLs are now only done in the sim even at the factory, but I may be wrong.

If the wheels don't come down for any reason (there are two hydraulic systems that operate the wheels just in case), it is possible to land the aircraft on it's belly and it has been done before, I know for certain in the older models without sponsons, which I think are less stable in roll in a wheels up scenario as they are narrower at the point they contact the ground.

Last edited by VeeAny; 6th Dec 2017 at 08:01. Reason: Typo
VeeAny is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 5th Dec 2017, 16:21   #11 (permalink)

Avoid imitations
 
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Wandering the FIR and cyberspace often at highly unsociable times
Posts: 11,145
Quote:
Originally Posted by gulliBell View Post
Not quite. The landing light on a S76 is bolted to the right MLG strut with an electrical interlock to ensure it's off with gear retracted. The landing light only works with the gear down. The S76 also has a pilot controllable search light that can be used with the gear up or down. Typically however pilots will have both the landing light and search light on for night take-off and landing, so when the gear goes up you still have use of the search light.
The OP wanted answers with regard to the AW109, though....

Quote:
Finally from an anti collision perspective, on the AW109, do the landing lights retract with the gear?
ShyTorque is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 5th Dec 2017, 16:24   #12 (permalink)
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: USA
Age: 48
Posts: 167
as previously mentioned, wheeled aircraft are far more ramp friendly. Skidded aircraft can cause a ramp tornado when positioning at busy FBOs.
Sir Korsky is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 5th Dec 2017, 23:21   #13 (permalink)
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Wanaka, NZ
Posts: 1,152
Quote:
Originally Posted by ShyTorque View Post
The OP wanted answers with regard to the AW109, though....
I was replying to the comment by @maeroda, not the OP.
gulliBell is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 6th Dec 2017, 02:23   #14 (permalink)
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: South East Asia
Posts: 350
Skids or Wheels

Some helicopters, the Bell 222 comes to mind, seem to have retractable wheels purely for aesthetic purposes, generally driven by the marketing department.


Some observations of both systems:


Skids: cheap, lightweight, low maintenance,
Wheels: expensive, heavy, moderate maintenance.


Also, at some time the retractable wheels WILL fail to extend, either through forgetfulness or mechanical issues. This is why some operators have stand-by provisions to receive a helicopter with wheels that won't come down, usually old tyres (tires) or similar to gently land on. In these cases it is worth remembering that it isn't the landing that does the damage, rather it's the protrusions, particularly antennas and WSPS deflectors that get pushed up into the lower structure causing substantial damage.


Skid-equipped helicopters are not immune from similar issues, I've personally seen two such helicopters with fractured rear cross tubes and I can assure you that this causes similar damage to a wheels-up landing, but perhaps not so extensive.
Saint Jack is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 6th Dec 2017, 08:25   #15 (permalink)
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: Thaïland
Age: 60
Posts: 165
I fly both and both have pro and cons. WHEELS : Funny to taxiing on wheels...and landing only nose wheels in mountain side More easy to land on sea carrier in bad wheather (small or Xsmall , big one same same..) Easy to autorotation on hard runway.. on smooth surface looke like sand, better skids....
Maintenance and weights...Cheaper on skids and you can't miss to low gear...lol
BOBAKAT is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 6th Dec 2017, 10:09   #16 (permalink)
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Nov 2017
Location: Bristol
Posts: 25
VeeAny.......

In the AW109, in the event of a double engine failure, upon making a forced landing, what would your forward speed be upon making contact with the ground?

I am assuming 'bear paws' are like snow shoes, but how to you fix them on?

Finally, assuming the AW109 has FADEC, in that case if while in the hover at 100 ft AGL, an engine fails, how long does it take to the live engine to deveop full power and is there a height loss?

Last edited by anchorhold; 6th Dec 2017 at 11:48.
anchorhold is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 6th Dec 2017, 21:51   #17 (permalink)
 
Join Date: Jul 1999
Location: Warrington, UK
Posts: 3,150
Quote:
is that landing three tonnes of helicopter on what are small wheels, it strikes me that on soft ground the helicopter could sink far enough to deform the wheel bay doors and cuase all sorts of havoc with the landing gear.
We had a Lynx(skids) land on sloping ground, which turned out to be quite soft. The downhill skid sank in to the ground, putting the aircraft out of sloping ground limits. Some considerable time digging under the uphill skid to get back in limits.
MightyGem is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 6th Dec 2017, 23:23   #18 (permalink)

Avoid imitations
 
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Wandering the FIR and cyberspace often at highly unsociable times
Posts: 11,145
Quote:
Finally, assuming the AW109 has FADEC, in that case if while in the hover at 100 ft AGL, an engine fails, how long does it take to the live engine to deveop full power and is there a height loss?
Yes, there would be a height loss, how much depending on the ambient density altitude, wind velocity, the all up mass of the aircraft and of course the reaction of the pilot (which would, or should be, to immediately lower the nose, gain airspeed and fly away).

The later A109 series aircraft are quite well off for engine power, compared to most other helicopters of that size but hovering for prolonged periods at 100 ft agl is something that most A109 pilots don't routinely need to do. The manufacturer provides details of "profiles" that afford Class A performance for departure and landing and public transport operations should be carried out with those in mind.
ShyTorque is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 7th Dec 2017, 12:06   #19 (permalink)
Tightgit
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: The artist formerly known as john du'pruyting
Age: 58
Posts: 743
Quote:
I am assuming 'bear paws' are like snow shoes, but how to you fix them on?
Is there any fixing other than harry black, jubilee clips or a ty-wrap?
handysnaks is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 8th Dec 2017, 13:00   #20 (permalink)
 
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: Liverpool based Geordie, so calm down, calm down kidda!!
Age: 54
Posts: 1,888
Bear paws are pretty much essential for our HEMS operations. Our neighbours use wheels, we use skids. On the moors, they often struggle for a good site, we don’t. In winter, if you retract muddy, wet wheels, you risk them freezing in the up position. I am praying our lot don’t go for the 5 tonne wheeled market option.
That said, you gain 5-10 knots without the drag......
jayteeto is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off



All times are GMT. The time now is 10:13.


© 1996-2012 The Professional Pilots Rumour Network

SEO by vBSEO 3.6.1