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Recreational pilots - why did you choose helicopter

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Recreational pilots - why did you choose helicopter

Old 16th Mar 2020, 15:33
  #21 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Mutley1013 View Post
The passengers I take enjoy the showing off, and yes, me too to a point. But, I enjoy the challenge of planning and safely executing off-field landings, confined area, etc., far more. I would have thought most (if not all) helicopter pilots enjoy the inherent challenges of flying a rotary aircraft - otherwise we would all be flying fixed wing (earning more and getting bored).
I would have thought that RW pilots are making good bank due to the fact that they have some very hazardous jobs such as power line inspections.

I would imagine that there may not be enough RW pilots. Hopefully, if I haven't terrified myself on my birthday lesson in a helicopter; I will get a better understanding of what draws people to fly helicopters
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Old 16th Mar 2020, 17:01
  #22 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Apr 2014
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When I was 8 I took my moms blender apart and tried to make a heli. Ended in tears. Stan Hiller took over our company, and I read his book about helis, and saw the "flying platform". He told me not to make one, it never really worked. This was in '93. I was 35, and took 4 big chainsaw motors and made what I think was the first quad copter. The intent was a low altitude transporter to use "heli" skiing. Set all four engines wide open and used thrust vectoring as control. 6 channel RC to control the proto from the ground. Worked pretty well. Stan agreed. Wife said congrats on the experiment, if you ever get in that and fly it yourself, if you land alive, you'll land as a bachelor.

Had a boss with a schwietzer, a 206, a beaver on floats and a merlin. I got lots of illegal time in the FWs, a half hour in the 206. FW bored the s out of me, but was certainly a joy vs flying commercial for business.

Wife continued to nix the Rotary path, and I didn't have the $ anyway. Boss died of cancer unexpectedly, and phut went flying.

Got promoted a few times, ended up making some money. Blew my Achilles in a ski tournament, had to have it rebuilt twice. On a scooter for 6 months. Driving son, wife and trailer to Boise, moving son there. Foot up on dashboard, still in cast, throbbing like a b. Astar on a trailer and a fuel truck pass us, says "Wasatch Mt Heliski" on the heli. I lose it "Those SOBs are gonna have more fun in the next day than Ive had in a year" wah wah.wah B and moan.

Wife says "I'm so sick of you crying, go get your license, I don't care if you kill yourself". So I did. I was 55.

I live in Inland Pacific Northwest USA. Tons of uncontrolled airspace. We use the heli to get to chukar hunting, ski tournaments, pheasant hunting, heli skiing, scouting for new ground to hunt, flying farmers to get permission to hunt. Fly myself to meetings. Best thing I ever did. I've got time in Hueys, B3, 206, Shwietzer, R44 and r22. Scared myself once in the Canadian rockies coming back from Calgary in a 44. But slowed down to 60 and the rotors stayed on just fine. I'm just doing this for fun. If the weather goes bad I land in a wheat field and call somebody.

I'd highly recommend it out here. Don't know if I'd do it where I wasn't free to land just about anywhere. I landed at a restaurant once (with permission). Felt like a schmuck.
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Old 16th Mar 2020, 17:01
  #23 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by controlz View Post
I am fully aware it costs a lot of money, but if working hard allows us to pursure hobbies like this then why not!
Oh, agreed, agreed! It's no different than owning a yacht of some sort, except that anyone can take the helm of a private (not for hire) yacht in the USA. Indeed, it doesn't take much of a yacht to have it become a far more expensive proposition than a light helicopter! The funny thing is, if you tell someone you have a 40 or 50 foot yacht they'll generally react with a "Very nice!". If you tell them you own a measly R44 helicopter, you get "Holy crap! That's unbelievable!" At any rate, owning a private helicopter, or a yacht, is not a sane choice, i.e. not a fiscally prudent one! But, as you point out, it doesn't need to be.

Coincidentally I was wondering if any recreational/hobby pilots have managed to do some commercial flying for fun, as opposed to always paying for SFH? I have no idea how this would work in reality and I certainly wouldn't be doing it for the money or as a day job per se, but it does seem quite fun to be able to fly "for free" sometimes.
And, with Bell ringer weighing in on this also, clearly this is doable, assuming you get the rating of course, as Ovc000 points out.

I initially planned to only be a "recreational" pilot. But while I was very satisfied with my PPL for fixed wing, when I finished up my PPL-H I felt like it was merely a license to go out and get killed in a helicopter. Hence I immediately pursued my CPL-H, and not only was this very worth it from a safety and skill standpoint, it also turned out to provide many more opportunities to fly in additional to the occasional $500 pancake or hamburger. Interestingly, IIRC there are approx. 15K helicopter pilots in the USA and approx. 13K of them hold a commercial or higher license.

Flying is a passion with most pilots, but not all. Some are passionate enough to fly for the sake of flying, not because it's a job. But as we all know you have to work hard and have not a little luck to make that happen in even the lowliest helicopter.

Originally Posted by Pugilistic Animus View Post
My hobby was making fireworks
That's quite interesting. Still have all the fingers? When I finally got back around to aviation it was because I was hanging up my leathers after many years of amateur motorcycle racing.
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Old 16th Mar 2020, 17:17
  #24 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Sep 2018
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Originally Posted by controlz View Post
Recreational pilots... why did you choose helicopter over fixed-wing? Were you ever tempted by fixed-wing or always wanted rotor?

Apologies if a thread like this has been posted before; Iím genuinely curious.
Did a few flights in a small plane,...didn't think it was all that fun, plus it kinda bothered my stomach.

First flight in an R22, he picked it up into a two foot hover, I looked around and thought, "this is awesome!",...plus it didn't bother my stomach. Two months later I was a chopper pilot,...and the fun began!

Seventeen years later, I have never once regretted chosing helicopters over airplanes,...for recreational flying!
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Old 16th Mar 2020, 18:09
  #25 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Feb 2018
Location: Darlington, UK
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I was gifted a trial lesson voucher. Knew of my colour blindness and was told years ago that would never allow me to fly an aircraft along with other things.
Really enjoyed the trial flight, thought I would go for a medical assessment to rule out the "what if" which was going around my head.
I failed the basic colour blindness test (no surprise) but passed the CAD. I've always had an interest in aviation (dad was RAF but I couldn't join due to peanut allergy) and now I had the chance to get a PPL I was going to take it.
Really enjoyed the training, did find it difficult. All the theory to learn and doing lessons before/after work shifts, but it was surprising how quickly all the skills I learnt came together.
Ideally the PPL would lead to going commercial, but I'm no rich boy. Paid for the PPL with all the overtime I had been saving up over the years to spend on "something" and I'm simply delighted to have got this far with it..
Chose helicopters as I love the freedom you have, want to stop and look at something, no problem. Want to land at a restaurant for bacon sandwich and tea, no problem!
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Old 17th Mar 2020, 03:21
  #26 (permalink)  
 
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" But it's gonna take time a whole lot of precious time, and it's gonna take money a whole lot of spending money. It's gonna take patience and time...to do it right..."
could not resist

"That's quite interesting. Still have all the fingers"

Yes I still have all my fingers but if an 8 " shell explodes near you it would just be a pink mist. I had literally dozens of precautions I would take like spraying everything down with static guard and wearing cotton only.

The maneuver that I'm most afraid of is autorotation it seems scary to me I understand how it works but still a vertical drop for someone terrified of heights that's a big deal. How did the pilots here feel about the maneuver the first time?



​​

Last edited by Pugilistic Animus; 17th Mar 2020 at 03:57.
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Old 17th Mar 2020, 07:28
  #27 (permalink)  
 
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One of the reasons I chose the -44 over the -22 was what I had heard about the behaviour in autos. When it came to the lesson, I was also worried about the effects of low-g on my stomach (never been comfortable with FW stalling).

Well...I’m not saying it lacked drama to the point where I ended up wishing I had brought something to read, but it was close. By the end of a fantastic day spent swooping down on the fields of Cambridgeshire, I was quite happy with the low-rpm horn going and the rpm pegged at 90% for range, and could even see the difference it made to the touchdown point.

Autos are thus, not a worry.
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Old 17th Mar 2020, 07:29
  #28 (permalink)  
 
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The grass always seems greener on the other side of the fence. Helo drivers in the military were always seen as being the bottom rung of aviation, was the destiny of those at the bottom of the wings course, and many drivers were looking to get into the fixed wing side of the business. One Army Sioux driver went for a ride in a F-100 dropping bombs on bad guys, he then took the guy for a low level flight in his Sioux and he thought the experience out of the world and cool, helo driver thought the opposite, flying the jet was cool.

One lad went to recruiting wanting to join the Army as a helo guy, having passed all the tests they offered him the Air Force, which he declined, asked why he replied "you may send me to fixed wing, I want to fly helos". The answer they gave was "if you join the Air Force we guarantee you'll fly helos", but it wasn't to last, did a combat tour on helos, came back to the real world and converted to fighters.
How did the pilots here feel about the maneuver the first time?
Learnt in the very forgiving Bell 47, so no big deal, the Scout on the other hand..............
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Old 17th Mar 2020, 09:14
  #29 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
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Originally Posted by megan View Post
The grass always seems greener on the other side of the fence. Helo drivers in the military were always seen as being the bottom rung of aviation, was the destiny of those at the bottom of the wings course, and many drivers were looking to get into the fixed wing side of the business. One Army Sioux driver went for a ride in a F-100 dropping bombs on bad guys, he then took the guy for a low level flight in his Sioux and he thought the experience out of the world and cool, helo driver thought the opposite, flying the jet was cool.
When it comes to helos vs. jets/planes from the military point of view, in the annual HeliOps calendar giveaway (thanks to KiwiNedNZ) 2016 thread, John Eacott hit it right on the head: See his original post
Nothing more to add

Thracian
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Old 17th Mar 2020, 14:57
  #30 (permalink)  
RMK
 
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Beyond being more fun to fly, helicopters as just far more useful and enjoyable for flying in the UK or Europe.

It went straight to RW 15 years ago as a PPL(H) and have no desire for a FW license. Maybe, if I lived in Southern Africa or the Canadian Northwest a bush plane would be really fun. However, living in London (like you) I must ask why would anyone want to fly fixed-wing in the UK – it honestly looks pretty grim. Fixed-wing pilots in the UK generally land at small underfunded aerodromes with scant facilities and poor food; if you want good food or an interesting location, you then take a taxi somewhere else. In a helicopter (in the UK and Europe) there are a plethora of places to land by helicopter – hotels/pubs/restaurants/etc. I have never once visited an aerodrome because I wished to visit that specific aerodrome; other than my home base, I only land at other aerodromes if I need fuel.

Additionally (regarding the US posters here), whereas the US has a fantastic fixed-wing private flying community, they barely have any private/recreational helicopter flying community in the US. Living in London, you can find 5-6 places (in under a 1hr drive) to fly/rent a helicopter privately, whereas in the US (though everyone will rent you plane) renting an R44 is always hard work to find one – the usual commercial/military guys have no clue (many don’t even realise a PPL can self-fly-hire a helicopter) as most have never flown a helicopter purely for recreation in the US.

Last edited by RMK; 17th Mar 2020 at 15:37.
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Old 17th Mar 2020, 16:10
  #31 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Apr 2017
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Recreational pilots - why did you choose helicopter

Probably because they met me when they were young....................................
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Old 17th Mar 2020, 16:30
  #32 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Sep 2018
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Originally Posted by RMK View Post

Additionally (regarding the US posters here), whereas the US has a fantastic fixed-wing private flying community, they barely have any private/recreational helicopter flying community in the US. Living in London, you can find 5-6 places (in under a 1hr drive) to fly/rent a helicopter privately, whereas in the US (though everyone will rent you plane) renting an R44 is always hard work to find one Ė the usual commercial/military guys have no clue (many donít even realise a PPL can self-fly-hire a helicopter) as most have never flown a helicopter purely for recreation in the US.
There was a time when I would disagree,...but that time has passed!

You want a 44? I can't even rent a 22 anymore! Seems many schools will still rent to former students,, but if you didn't get your training there, or that school one day closes,...say goodbye to recreational flying!

The wild west has been suppressed
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Old 17th Mar 2020, 16:32
  #33 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Dec 2016
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In my case it was Vertical Freedoms pictures that made me go for the dark magic of rotary flight.

Also airplanes are for pilots who can't fly helicopters
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Old 17th Mar 2020, 20:36
  #34 (permalink)  
 
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Many countries don't permit to make use of the fascinating capabilities of helicopters outside of airfields especially for private flights. Combined with the very high cost and training requirements unfortunately I don't see much use of holding some PPL H in my country. I still know some Lady who keeps her PPL H current and who even upgraded from Jet Rangers to the EC 120 just for the fun of it.
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Old 17th Mar 2020, 21:45
  #35 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Aug 2019
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I had been FW private pilot for about 17 years with 2000 hours . I flew a well equipped piper Lance for 15 + years and really enjoyed it. Last year my youngest one went to college and nobody wants to fly with me so I have no need for six seats. I sold my Lance few months ago. I felt like I need new challenge and considered sea plane but didn't appealed to me much. One of my friend who flies Stat Med Vac helicopters told me to try helicopters because they are hard to learn. I started training about 6 months ago and I am in absolute love with these machines. I have 60 hours and just soloed last weekend. A R44 is on the way with delivery date of end of April.
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Old 17th Mar 2020, 22:15
  #36 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Apr 2019
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Everyone learns at different rates, but I have to say 60hrs is a long time to get to solo (especially if you are averaging 10hrs a month). Are you sure your flight school isn’t creaming you?
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Old 18th Mar 2020, 00:53
  #37 (permalink)  
 
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"Also airplanes are for pilots who can't fly helicopters "
Touchť that's a good one
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Old 18th Mar 2020, 04:02
  #38 (permalink)  
 
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John Eacott hit it right on the head
They do exist, young Navy chap of my acquaintance duxed his course and the Air Force offered him fighters if he would swap services, no being the answer, stay Navy and fly helos.
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Old 18th Mar 2020, 14:35
  #39 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
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Birthday gift of a fixed-wing lesson. Fun, but not engaging enough. 2 years later, birthday gift of a helicopter lesson (R44, wife came along too). Upper air work more interesting than FW, but when the FI gave me a go at hovering…….. I got out of the machine and told my (very green-looking) wife "I have got to do this. It's the hardest thing I ever tried!".

More than 10 years later, owned 2x120's and a 44, also flown G2 and 206 L4. Absolutely love it!

Take 3 or 4 "training" flights each year to stay fresh with emergency drills (last one was 30 min instrument turns & nav) in addition to the annual LPC. The technical flying of emergency drills is still what I enjoy most.

UK-based, so hotel and lunch trips are common. why do this when I could drive - why would I sit in a car for 2 hrs when I can be there in 30min in a helicopter? In the highlands, even more advantage. Cumbernauld to my place by road - 3:15. By helicopeter - 60% start to 40% on stop is 53 min. And with the greatest scenery imaginable.

John
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Old 18th Mar 2020, 18:15
  #40 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
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In 1958 I was 7 years old living on the family farm in central Canada .... a Bell 47 flew over the farm at about 300 feet and I have been hooked ever since.

I have always been mechanically inclined , was an auto body technician and painter by trade , I could build or fix almost anything so in 1978 decided to order a home-built Rotorway Kit from Arizona .... but Canada did not have a home-built category at that time.

Rotorway factory owner B.J. Schramm himself phoned and told me it would take an act of parliament to change the rules.

So I took the money I had set aside for the kit and spent it on basic training on a Bell 47G2 ..... did my first solo flight after only 14.7 hours of dual instruction

Best thing that could have ever happened to me .... very few of the original Rotorway Scorpions ever got off the ground .... they used a converted Mercury outboard motor which had marginal horsepower for a helicopter

My love of helicopters remains just like when I was 7 years old.



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