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constant speed or variable speed approach

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constant speed or variable speed approach

Old 5th Jul 2020, 09:42
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aa777888 - another thing for you to try next time you go flying.

Make a normal constant angle, speed reducing approach until you get to the burble/vibration and then hold the speed steady.

Once happy in that condition, note the power required to maintain your descent angle.

Now reduce speed slowly until the vibration goes away and stabilise again at that new speed.

Note the power required to maintain your descent angle.

I expect two things to be obvious, 1. you need more power to maintain the angle as you have lost ETL and 2. you are not having to make roll corrections with cyclic during the journey through the burble/vibration because it isn't transverse flow effect.

Transverse flow (inflow roll) is noticeable on a transition from the hover because of the difference in inflow angles between front and rear of the disc - I hope we can all agree with that - but is barely noticeable on the approach, yet the vibration occurs clearly in both transitions - discuss
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Old 5th Jul 2020, 11:11
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Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
aa777888 - another thing for you to try next time you go flying.
Make a normal constant angle, speed reducing approach until you get to the burble/vibration and then hold the speed steady.
Once happy in that condition, note the power required to maintain your descent angle.
Now reduce speed slowly until the vibration goes away and stabilise again at that new speed.
Note the power required to maintain your descent angle.
I expect two things to be obvious, 1. you need more power to maintain the angle as you have lost ETL and 2. you are not having to make roll corrections with cyclic during the journey through the burble/vibration because it isn't transverse flow effect.
Now that's a sensible post. Obviously, like any helicopter pilot landing a helicopter, I've done this innumerable times, but I can't say I've ever taken note of the actual MP, other than to keep it out of the red and that it obviously increases the slower you go until ground effect. But I can take special note of the MP at a speed above the vibration and then when "riding" the vibration down.

Transverse flow (inflow roll) is noticeable on a transition from the hover because of the difference in inflow angles between front and rear of the disc - I hope we can all agree with that - but is barely noticeable on the approach, yet the vibration occurs clearly in both transitions - discuss
Definitely agreed, no discussion required on that part of it.
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Old 5th Jul 2020, 12:48
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Definitely agreed, no discussion required on that part of it.
greatso what is your explanation of the vibration on the approach?
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Old 5th Jul 2020, 13:01
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Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
greatso what is your explanation of the vibration on the approach?
I don't have one. The books I have say transverse flow. Right or wrong, that's what they say. And when it's time to take my next written knowledge exam, I will parrot the FAA answer. Meanwhile you say something else. I don't actually care about the cause, but I do care about whether or not I have ETL when I feel the vibration and that will be the experiment I perform when I next get the chance.
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Old 5th Jul 2020, 13:04
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Excellent - and don't forget the transition into forward flight - nice and slow or it all happens at once - it will want to roll to the right (transverse flow) before you get to the vibration (boundary) and then ETL and flapback will pitch the nose up and start a climb.
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Old 5th Jul 2020, 17:59
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Crab/aa77788,

Ref the vibration you are feeling on approach (forget T/O, that you are about in this last couple of posts, are you talking about the Nper rev vibe at about the 45->25KIAS regime on decel/finals? Especially noticeable in the Aw139???
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Old 5th Jul 2020, 19:37
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Originally Posted by aa777888 View Post
I don't have one. The books I have say transverse flow. Right or wrong, that's what they say. And when it's time to take my next written knowledge exam, I will parrot the FAA answer. Meanwhile you say something else. I don't actually care about the cause, but I do care about whether or not I have ETL when I feel the vibration and that will be the experiment I perform when I next get the chance.
Exactly! When push comes to shove, if you wanna pass the test, you have to go with what the book says!

Personally, I've often wondered if both cause a vibration,...but then these two phenomenon happen so close together do I really need to take out that fine toothed comb and say, "Ok, this vibration is ETLLLLLL and now its Transverse Flow!"?

Anyway, clearly the guys who write these books have their own arguments, and since we're pilots, not engineers, I guess we're just at their mercy?
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Old 5th Jul 2020, 19:59
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Crab/aa77788,

Ref the vibration you are feeling on approach (forget T/O, that you are about in this last couple of posts, are you talking about the Nper rev vibe at about the 45->25KIAS regime on decel/finals? Especially noticeable in the Aw139???
No, I'm talking about an approach in just about any helicopter but particularly in this case light singles and around the 20 Kt IAS mark.
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Old 5th Jul 2020, 20:52
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What crab said.

Wait a second...holy crap, I agreed with crab!
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Old 6th Jul 2020, 02:05
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A more simple way of expressing this subject is:

"If it changes from what you want, fix it!"

From 60kt and 300', when your aiming point is about 3 finger-widths below the horizon, set the hover attitude and keep it,
Reduce power to make the aim point stay steady in the window - AND KEEP IT THERE,
And the apparent walking pace over your toes will be apparently steady, as the altitude and speed both decrease - You kept it there,
And if the nose tries to kick up as speed changes slowly downwards and power moves upwards, you fix it,
And if the aim point moves (not through attitude, because you haven't let that change) then fix it with power.
And you will get to the hover, with little if any attitude change, but a few inputs from power, pedals, and fiddling with cyclic.

All because "you fixed it."
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Old 6th Jul 2020, 03:16
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From 60kt and 300', when your aiming point is about 3 finger-widths below the horizon, set the hover attitude and keep it,
Reduce power to make the aim point stay steady in the window - AND KEEP IT THERE,
And the apparent walking pace over your toes will be apparently steady, as the altitude and speed both decrease - You kept it there,
And if the nose tries to kick up as speed changes slowly downwards and power moves upwards, you fix it,
And if the aim point moves (not through attitude, because you haven't let that change) then fix it with power.
And you will get to the hover, with little if any attitude change, but a few inputs from power, pedals, and fiddling with cyclic.

All because "you fixed it."
The quality and finesse of the approach will exactly depend on that: the method above and the rate at witch "you fixed it" until it becomes imperceptible corrections to the observer

there is naturally a lot of practice correcting pedal setting with power setting it is anticipated in motor control for a great part, so the first sign of good pilot is that the tail remain dead steady throughout.
it gets harder anticipating longitudinal attitude change with power setting during the approach, because the correlation lags behind and is oscillatory in nature.

in level flight an exercise consists in holding the longitudinal cyclic firmly at a fixed spot and reduce the collective (while holding the longitudinal cyclic firm)
the attitude will nose down progressively --> the speed will pick up --> flapback will increase --> speed will slow down

that long period oscillation is one I sometime get stuck with at a moderate level at least for one small cycle, and requires full attention to get ahead of.
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Old 6th Jul 2020, 04:39
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in level flight an exercise consists in holding the longitudinal cyclic firmly at a fixed spot and reduce the collective (while holding the longitudinal cyclic firm)
the attitude will nose down progressively --> the speed will pick up --> flapback will increase --> speed will slow down
Stick fixed instability. It will start as soon as the aircraft moves forward from the hover, and increase until you crash 3 oscillations later.

If it moves, fix it.
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Old 6th Jul 2020, 08:39
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Originally Posted by Ascend Charlie View Post
.
Hi, AC I don't get the "walking pace thing of my toes".
I understand that you want the exact location where the line of sight to the landing spot pierces through the bubble stay fixed.
This requires a) a constant angle approach AND b) unchanged attitude, as failing to achive any of the two will cause that point on the bubble to move.
But while satisfying both a) and b), the air speed can be either constant or progressively decreasing (I fvor the latter).

So where's that "walking speed over my toes" thing come in here?

I once had a FI demonstrate an approach where he setup ship at app. 60 kn @300ft and apparently didn't move any of the controls while we went down the line of sight like a cable car, constantly loosing speed.
He simply waited until we fell through ETL, pulled a tad pitch and we hovered at 3 ft. I was very impressed
Maybe he did the walking toes thing, I don't know.


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Old 6th Jul 2020, 09:30
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Let me try to answer for AC and he can confirm if I get it right. as you get closer to the ground the apparent speed (the one your eyes feel) will increase
in other words, far from the target, at 300 ft it does not look like 60 knots but close to the ground it feels mighty fast.

therefore if you set yourself to look rather down and keep the perceived speed constant your actual speed will precisely decay with respect to your altitude above ground.
it works well when the ground has regular features like grass, not so good good luck to make it work on snow or water.

in that case I look at the airspeed, say its 60 knots choose a feature at mid point say a strange tree, then aim for 30 knots at the tree, then repeat the process of halving the distance until the pad.
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Old 6th Jul 2020, 09:40
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Yes Agile - it is apparent groundspeed. When you fly in an airliner at 30,000 ft the ground doesn't seem to be moving past you very fast, even though you are doing in excess of 500Kts. Come down to 3 ft and the world is hurtling past at a scary rate.

You can either look down past your toes, if your aircraft has a nice bubble or chin window, or scan out to the side to keep the apparent rate of movement across the ground the same as you get lower by gradually reducing the IAS.

aa777888 -
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Old 6th Jul 2020, 10:10
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OMG!!!
I agree with Crab too!
What is the world coming to....
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Old 6th Jul 2020, 10:29
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What is the world coming to....
My way of thinking...
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Old 6th Jul 2020, 10:54
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thanks guys, I think I've understood.
Next time i'll pay attention to the perceived speed of ground vanishing behind my toes during approach.
(the S-300C has excellent bubble canopy for that exercise)
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Old 12th Jul 2020, 00:05
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I struggle with much of the 'black magic' that is helicopter aerodynamics, and so attempt to look for the simple answers (which is not to ignore that a lot is occurring behind the scenes). Since the vibration associated with ETL can occur when on approach to an elevated helipad (i.e. when there is not yet any hard surface for the rotor wash to interact with) the vibration cannot simply be associated with the so-called 'ground vortex'. I have observed rotor wash in a still-air hover (e.g. over a body of water) and have seen visualisations that show the classic donut vortices evenly distributed around the rotor tip path. I have also observed the effect of rotor vortices in flight (both actually and virtually) where they resemble conventional fixed-wing tip vortices. At some point as a helicopter accelerates, the vortices that circulated around the entire tip path are forced to separate and migrate toward the extremities (the 'wing tips'). Noting that this separation and movement of vortices is quite violent, and that it is also likely to impact on the airflow over the tail rotor, it seems reasonable to me to assume that vibration will be marked. I'm happy to be corrected, but this is the simple explanation I give to my students.
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Old 12th Jul 2020, 01:23
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The "rigid rotor" MBB Bo105 has a pronounced vibration as you transition "back" through ETL. The speed range is quite wide, and the vibration goes away once you're fully in a hover. Sometimes, if you can't get directly into the wind for some reason, you sit there, anxiously wondering if the vibration is the "normal" 105 roughness or the onset of VRS. Fun times!

Many 105 pilots will ride the approach down, smack-dab in the middle of the vibration range, making for a teeth-rattling, rivet-loosening, gyro-killing approach. Savvy 105 pilots will decelerate to just above the onset of the vibration and hold it there. As you come to your termination point, a tiny bit of aft cyclic is all you need to drop the rotor completely back through ETL with (hopefully) no appreciable power change. (I say "hopefully" because those dang ol' C20B's ran so hot in the summer time and you don't want to be yanking in a bunch of collective at the bottom.) Using this technique, the duration of the teeth-rattling/rivet-loosening is truncated. The key is very precise attitude control on the way down. The only other multi-blade rotor system I've flown is on the Sikorsky H19, which has less vibration coming back through ETL than the 105, but the technique works equally well. To a pilot trained in single-engine piston helicopters, who was taught to stay well out of the shaded-area on approach, this technique seems painfully, dangerously slow. But it is nice and calm and predictable, and requires no big pitch attitude or power-change at the bottom. Added bonus: no yaw change either.
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