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How to fly a Helicopter!

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CC Helo Tutorial
[TUTORIAL] How to fly a helicopter Print

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Written by Bernardo Srulzon   
Friday, 30 September 2005

Controlled climbs, descents, hover and turns

Now, we'll discuss important maneuvers on a helicopter: climbs, descents, hover and turns. Alike fixed-wing aircraft, you can't get your hands out of the controls of a helicopter - smooth and constant flight controls input are required for a helicopter to fly safely.

Climbs and descents are somewhat easy: you should simply use the collective to establish the desired vertical speed, pitch to control the speed and then fine-tune the controls for a perfect speed/vertical speed combination. Once you are close to the desired altitude, start using the collective again to level off and adjust pitch to maintain the speed.

Hovering requires a little more concentration, as it gets more difficult to control a helicopter at low speeds. To hover in the air, pitch up to decrease the speed and adjust the collective for zero vertical speed. As the speed decreases, more collective will be necessary to maintain the altitude - about 75% torque will be necessary to keep the aircraft in hover. Quit hovering by pitching down - now, less torque will be needed to maintain the vertical speed. Always increase the collective smoothly and carefully!

 
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Turns in a helicopter work more or less like a fixed-wing aircraft. Using the cyclic, bank to one side and watch the turn coordinator: your job is to keep the ball centered with minimum variation. Moving the cyclic in the opposite direction will make the aircraft roll back; remember to keep the ball centered at all times, especially when turning! A completely coordinated turn in a helicopter takes some practice.

 

Approach and landing

You have gone though hovers, take-offs, climbs, descents and turns ... now it's finally the time to land! There are basically two ways to land a helicopter: hover and flare.

First of all, find a wide and flat area to land and head towards it. In the meantime, reduce the collective to start a descent while controlling the cyclic to maintain a fair speed - for the initial stage of the approach, let's use 70 knots. Don't come for the landing too high or too low, you still need some height to complete the landing. As the landing spot gets closer to you, start pitching up slightly until 40 knots; you also may need to adjust the collective in order to maintain the same vertical speed.

Hover method: The hover method is simple: you should enter a hover well above the ground and decent vertically to complete the landing. Finally over your landing area, pitch up again to enter a hover - remember that at low speeds you need more torque, so increase collective as necessary. While in hover, slightly reduce the collective to achieve a 300~400 FPM (feet per minute) descent rate. At about 5 feet above ground level, increase it again to establish a descent rate of about 100 FPM.

Flare method: The basic idea of this method is to reduce the speed and descend at the same time, your goal is to enter a hover just above the ground and finally complete the landing. Over the landing area, adjust the collective and cyclic so that you can descend and slow down at the same time; corrections should be made so that you to enter the hover about 5 feet off the ground. As you get closer to the ground, more torque will be needed for you to establish a descent rate of ~100 FPM.

 

Don't do any abrupt moves while approaching, they will affect the stability of the aircraft and might lead to a crash. After landing, completely reduce the collective and shutdown the engine by clicking on the fuel valve switch.

Taxi

The taxi on a helicopter with skids is also an important technique. It works this way: you should first establish a hover about 3 feet above the ground, just like we did on takeoff. Move the cyclic slightly forward (just as you were going to take-off) and establish a suitable taxi speed (not faster than 20 knots) - you must also reduce the collective to maintain the same height as the aircraft accelerates. To quit taxi, pitch up and enter the hover again, then land. Once you get good at it, you can try to start the taxi from a landing without even touching down!

Conclusion

Flying a helicopter can (and probably will) be hard at first, just like it was hard to fly planes at first. However, if you take the necessary time to practice, you will notice that it's not such a big deal - in fact, it is a whole lot of fun to fly them! After you are experienced enough with the Bell 206, you can download some other models, try acrobatic stunts and enjoy this new experience. I'm sure you'll like it!

Recommended add-on models

Adriano Martoni's AS350 model + repaints @ AVSIM

"The tutorial presented here was written by Bernardo Srulzon and can be found in its original version at FS Station -
How to fly a helicopter by Bernardo Srulzon @ www.fsstation.com"
 






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