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Leave helicopter rotor running

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Leave helicopter rotor running

Old 30th Jul 2020, 10:55
  #21 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: West Sussex
Age: 81
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A well known story in Bristows is about the early days of the 206. A French pilot was taking off from a rig in the gulf, when he decided he was not happy with the CofG. He could not attract the attention of anyone, so got out with the rotors running, to move some freight around.
A gust of wind picked the aircraft up, and threw it off the rig. His message back to the base was to the effect that he aircraft has gone.
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Old 30th Jul 2020, 11:11
  #22 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: moraira,spain-Norfolk, UK
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Asleep at the controls.

Back in NZ helicopters (lots of them) were used to blow freezing fog
away from the grapes. One night some guy fell asleep and got a long
way towards Wellington. Could have ended very badly.
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Old 30th Jul 2020, 11:29
  #23 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Vega
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Again I don't agree with you.
If that the cases, so what?

In HEMS (HAA for the US guys) and firefighting why all those responsibilities must be charged to pilot's shoulders?
Because are we last, weak ring of the chain? No thanks.
In EMS/HAA you can't save everyone life despite the effort you put in your job (job, not a Lord's investiture), like in fire fighting you can't prevent the whole Earth burning.
Are the deployed resources insufficient? We might talk about that, but again not a pilot's point of view issue.

Fly safe.

Originally Posted by Ascend Charlie View Post
When you are out in the bush fighting fires, there is no capacity for carrying another person in the aircraft - otherwise you are dropping 90kg less water. And when you are directed to go to another fire, and then refuel at a bunch of drums sitting there by themselves, you aren't able to get your ground crew to gallop over to this new place to pump your fuel for you.

Every second counts in a fire. Our country had its worst ever rolling series of fires in 2019/2020, so when you are out of gas, you plop down next to the drums, roll down to idle and start pumping. When full of fuel, empty your bladder on the skid, get back in and go to work.

Yes I hear your little safety alarm going off, but it can be done effectively.

Airmanship is defined as the safe and efficient use of an aircraft, both in the air, and on the ground.

Sometimes, being safe means being largely inefficient, but being efficient (in this case) isn't as unsafe as you paint it to be.
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Old 30th Jul 2020, 12:26
  #24 (permalink)  

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Ascend, in view of this being a national emergency it does seemed strange logic not to go to the temporary extra trouble (or perhaps, extra expense?) of having ground crew available.
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Old 30th Jul 2020, 13:52
  #25 (permalink)  
 
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I did it in Ireland at a remote fuel store, walking around the nose of the B206, slipped on wet grass, grabbed out at anything to stop myself falling, and ended up grabbing the pitot tube (obviously not on purpose...). End result, was muddy trousers, 3rd degree burns to my hand, and still having to complete the flight as tasked. I decided that quite a few holes in the 'Swiss-Cheese' had lined up that day, and never did it again.
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Old 30th Jul 2020, 14:18
  #26 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by ShyTorque View Post
I saw similar to this in NZ. We were on holiday and had just parked on a corner of the public car park at an airfield (my young sons wanted to look at the aircraft; it was a wet and windy day so we stayed in the car). As we stopped, a single Squirrel landed ten metres from us on the airport grass, adjacent to an unlocked gate in the one metre high fence. The pilot put the rotors to idle then to my increasing surprise got out...
(SNIP)
...Because it was a gusty day I soon became concerned that the rotors might flap and strike the tail boom, or worse. I reversed my car away to put a bit more space between us..
Ah, the old "gust of wind."

Whenever I read stuff like this I always laugh and think, "Don't people understand how a rotor works...how the cyclic works? Do they actually think that an immobilized cyclic will allow the rotor to flap all over the place with no control? Have they ever been sitting in an idling helicopter and had that happen?"

Helicopter pilots...especially helicopter pilots...should understand that the whole cyclic/swash plate thingee is specifically designed to control the tip-path plane. If the tip-path plane is displaced, it is the position of the cyclic (and the flapping/feathering design of our rotor systems) that brings it back to its original setting. It's pretty simple: if the cyclic doesn't move, the tip-path plane won't move. Or won't move much. In 11,000+ hours, I've never once...not once been sitting in an idling helicopter and had the rotor do something strange in response to "a gust of wind." Yeah, sometimes a "big ship" would land next to me and the rotor would momentarily get a little goofy, but it always sorted itself out in a revolution or two...certainly by the time I grabbed the controls. Never have I had to make any inputs to correct my wildly diverging tip-path plane. Because it doesn't happen...if the cyclic doesn't move.

It is a paranoid myth to think that in an idling helicopter with the cyclic secured, the rotor will react inappropriately to a rogue "gust of wind." It just does not happen.

Set it down on solid ground, put it in IDLE, lock the controls, and then do what you gotta do. If it's never spontaneously exploded, rolled over, or beaten itself to death with you inside of it, it's not going to do any of those things with you absent.

I have a friend who tells a hilarious story about coming back to base after a day of (unspecified) utility flying. His passenger happened to be a chick from the government...let's say "agency" he was contracted to that day. According to him, she was hot and he was trying to impress her. But on the way back to base, he started to feel this...you know...urge. Normally, he would've just set it down in a remote area, of which there were plenty in that part of the U.S., and then gotten out to do his business. But according to the rules they were operating under, the chick *had* to be back at base by sundown, and they were already pushing it. So my friend held it. They get back to base. He lands, frictions everything down, leaves it running and tells her to just stay put. Then he hops out and runs...and I mean RUNS inside the hangar...and *almost* makes it to the men's room. Luckily, he's wearing a flight suit over his clothes, so it was merely a matter of disposing of the soiled items (to be retrieved later). But there was still some still-urgent business to take care of. All of this took time. And while it's happening, he knows that his helicopter is still out on the ramp, idling away, with a non-pilot chick in the passenger seat, wondering where the hell (NAME REDACTED) went? Ahh, first impressions! Eventually...finally!...he came back, shut the thing down and sent her on her way. Normally, he would've asked her out for drinks/dinner, but by then he just wasn't "in the mood." And I don't blame him.

His helicopter did not explode. They don't do that.
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Old 30th Jul 2020, 18:35
  #27 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: May 2016
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When flying offshore to oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico on windy days, a shut down was impossible. Even with a rotor brake, a slow turning rotor would flap and hit the tailboom of a Bell 47, Bell 206, Bell 205, Hughes 500, etc. Several times a day helicopters land on unmanned fuel platforms, sometimes with passengers, and the pilot gets out and self refuels with the engine at idle. This has been the norm for over 50 years.
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Old 30th Jul 2020, 20:30
  #28 (permalink)  

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FH1100,

I’ve been flying rotary wing since 1979 and with as many hours as yourself I do have some small knowledge of how helicopters work. But thanks for your concern.
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Old 30th Jul 2020, 21:49
  #29 (permalink)  
 
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if the cyclic doesn't move, the tip-path plane won't move.
FH1100, this is horsefeathers. The disc will flap away from any relative wind, but it is moving the cyclic that brings it back.

Try to transition from a hover into slow forward flight, just by initially adding some forward stick, but then bring it back to the middle and don't let it move. You start to move forward. Then the nose will flap up, you will stop moving forward, and then start moving backward, until the disc flaps away from the (tail)wind, the nose pitches down, you move forward again, the nose flaps up, and after one more cycle, the aircraft has crashed.
Because you did not move the cyclic.
it always sorted itself out in a revolution or two...certainly by the time I grabbed the controls.
See, you just said it yourself, the blade will flap, and the pilot will adjust the cyclic to stop it. But if the cockpit is unoccupied, well...
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Old 30th Jul 2020, 22:23
  #30 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Nov 2018
Location: San Diego, CA
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Blades can indeed flap at low RPM, every rotorcraft pilot should know that, but I don't see how that would cause the helicopter to lift up unless the wind is REALLY strong. With the collective down, the blade pitch is 0 and the blades are generating no lift. Centripetal force is straightening the blades, not aerodynamic lift. An idling helicopter generates basically no downward air. People can enter/exit an idling helicopter easily without feeling like they're in a hurricane because it's not blowing air downwards, hence not generating lift.

Likewise a parked airplane generates no lift. However there have been occasions where extremely strong winds have actually made upwind-facing airplanes go airborne if they're not tied down, so the same could happen to an idling helicopter, but that would have to be a really strong wind of the sort you would never fly in anyway.

That said, personally I wouldn't ever be comfortable leaving an unattended helicopter running, but then again I'm not even comfortable leaving a car running unattended.
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Old 31st Jul 2020, 09:22
  #31 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: U.K.
Posts: 84
Many years ago I flew helicopters (B206, AS350) and we were allowed to leave the seat when :

1. The engine was at idle
2. Weather conditions were suitable
3. collective friction/lock was on
4. Cyclic friction on
5. and not mentioned above .. HYDRAULICS OFF ( due possible runaway)

I. Duke
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Old 1st Aug 2020, 03:01
  #32 (permalink)  
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When you are out in the bush fighting fires, there is no capacity for carrying another person in the aircraft - otherwise you are dropping 90kg less water. And when you are directed to go to another fire, and then refuel at a bunch of drums sitting there by themselves, you aren't able to get your ground crew to gallop over to this new place to pump your fuel for you.
I spent the last 22 years of my career explaining to helicopter pilots that combining the exemptions in two separate CAOs 20.10 and 95.7 cannot be combined. As far as I know there is no method CASA can give an exemption from the provisions of a CAO which in itself is an exemption to a CAR. CASA did not consider that refuelling was
essential to the safety of the helicopter or of the persons on, or in the vicinity of, the helicopter;
CAO 20.10
3.3 Unless subsection 7 of Civil Aviation Order section 95.7 applies, a pilot with a licence that is valid for the helicopter must, at all times, be at the controls of the helicopter while refuelling is carried out.
CAO 95.7
7 Exemption from general requirement for pilot to be at controls

7.1 If the condition set out in paragraph 7.2 is complied with, a helicopter is exempt from compliance with subregulation 225 (1) (but not subregulation 225 (2)) and subregulation 230 (2) of the regulations.

7.2 The exemption given by paragraph 7.1, in relation to a helicopter, is subject to the condition that a pilot must, from the time of starting the engine or engines until the time of stopping the engine or engines at the end of the flight, be at the controls of the helicopter unless:

(a) the helicopter is fitted with skid type landing gear; and

(b) the helicopter is fitted with a serviceable means of locking the cyclic and collective controls; and

(c) if a passenger occupies a control seat fitted with fully or partially functioning controls or is seated in a position where he or she is able to interfere with such controls, the controls are locked and the pilot is satisfied that the passenger will not interfere with the controls; and

(d) the pilot considers that his or her absence from the cockpit is essential to the safety of the helicopter or of the persons on, or in the vicinity of, the helicopter; and

(e) the pilot remains in the immediate vicinity of the helicopter.
If you had a prearranged fuel dump, the operator should have a refueller on the ground.
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Old 1st Aug 2020, 05:32
  #33 (permalink)  
 
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“The pilot considers” and the conditions of 95.7 override 20.10 as it sez.

“Safety of the helicopter” would come under not allowing some ******** to refuel it.





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Old 1st Aug 2020, 05:34
  #34 (permalink)  
 
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If you had a prearranged fuel dump, the operator should have a refueller on the ground.
The operator doesn't have unlimited people, maybe 3 pilots and that's it. And they might all be working the fires in different places. Subsection 7 applied at the fuel drum dump.

The fuel was put there by the local BP supplier, who would travel between dumps, replacing empty drums. He didn't have people to be left at each site in case a chopper dropped in. He left a pump and testing kit at each dump. Nice guy, he did it off his own bat, this was in the 9os before the whole show was a lot better organised. Shane Fitzsimmons was just another nice guy in the fire service, he didn't know he would be Commissioner down the track.
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Old 2nd Aug 2020, 07:04
  #35 (permalink)  

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I’ve often wondered how “the obvious” emergency of a fire when self refuelling a running helicopter would be dealt with.
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Old 2nd Aug 2020, 07:19
  #36 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by ShyTorque View Post
I’ve often wondered how “the obvious” emergency of a fire when self refuelling a running helicopter would be dealt with.
You just take that little handheld fire cylinder and wave it about a bit. Problem sorted

Possibly why some have regulated the presence of a suitable fire crew. But that costs money unfortunately and nothing ruins the profitability of an organisation than wasting money on unnecessary safety precautions.
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Old 2nd Aug 2020, 21:34
  #37 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Bell_ringer View Post
You just take that little handheld fire cylinder and wave it about a bit. Problem sorted

Possibly why some have regulated the presence of a suitable fire crew. But that costs money unfortunately and nothing ruins the profitability of an organisation than wasting money on unnecessary safety precautions.
If you have to have the presence of a suitable fire crew, then you have just shut down a huge amount of helicopter operations. we have just become aeroplanes that have rotors, stuck operating from airports.

Even if you have a pilot at the controls and the thing catches fire, what are you going to do? Take off with a burning helicopter, or hop out and wave that little hand held fire extinguisher around until it runs out, then watch the thing burn.... Considering a 30,000ltr fuel tanker only needs a couple of 9kg bottles while they are refuelling a petrol station, and that somehow makes them "safe", with NO fire crew around, and lots of idiots driving cars and motorbikes around them, i don't think that hot refuelling a helicopter is any more dangerous...

while we have all heard of helicopters going for a fly by themselves, even if it is because the pilot got out with the rotor at 100%!!!

how many of you guys can recall a JetA1 fuelled machine catching fire while hot refuelling?
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Old 2nd Aug 2020, 22:53
  #38 (permalink)  
 
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how many of you guys can recall a JetA1 fuelled machine catching fire while hot refuelling?
I did hear of an army aviator who splashed fuel on his nomex suit while cold refuelling. He stepped away from the aircraft, splashed water on the suit, and then carefully removed the suit top - but a spark was still generated, and the shirt caught fire.

So, even cold refuelling while wearing protective gear is dangerous.

Assess the risk, do the job if the risk is low enough to warrant it. For the risk-averse, there is a nice safe office job in the government somewhere.
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Old 3rd Aug 2020, 08:47
  #39 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Ascend Charlie View Post
For the risk-averse, there is a nice safe office job in the government somewhere.
Risk is about understanding and managing the risk, it isn't about hoping for the best or following the mindset that because it hasn't gone wrong yet it is unlikely to go wrong in the future.
If it is integral to an operation, why a trained ground crew member can't be used does not make much sense.

Aircraft have procedures for fire management, how would a pilot external to the aircraft be able to quickly follow them?
I could imagine trying to explain that one to the insurance company, but then it is illegal here, so there is ground grew with a semi-decent method of extinguishing, or delaying the fire.
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Old 3rd Aug 2020, 11:22
  #40 (permalink)  
 
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Bell-Ringer, in a small business of 3 pilots, where do we find a ground crew to park out in the boonies next to some fuel drums to wait hours for an aircraft to perhaps drop in? Plenty of dumps to choose from, use the nearest one to where your water source is. Our machines got moved around from fire to fire, maybe leaving your imaginary fuel helper without a ride home, and the fuel truck driver didn't have a pile of people to leave in the bush either.

Perhaps you have not operated on a fire, hmmm? This was in the 90s, Mister Banks. Using B206 with 500 lt Bambi buckets. Things are a bit different now, but then it was a huge learning curve. People have managed to get the RFS into a much better way of working with operators.

All very well to sit back and spout HR-developed plans that cover every eventuality with rose petals, but it's a bit like war - as soon as the first shot is fired, the plan turns to dust.

But one thing really got my goat. At Silverdale, in the Blue Mountains, there was a large staging base with fuel, and support people providing sandwiches and drinks. One particular operator would leave the aircraft turning and burning while the pilots sat under a tree having their lunch, and billing the RFS for the engine time. THAT was offside. Blow the whistle, Ref.
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