Flying through

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Dynali H2S and H3 Helicopters

Patrick and Me in the H3 with H2S in the background
Went to Belgium on Monday to fly one light helicopter and one VLH (a category in some European countries) at the Dynali plant with Dynali pilot Patrick Gauquier.
Very nice machines - especially the H2S which has a 180 hp Subaru engine and a gross weight of 700 kgs. A really fun helicopter to fly and quite responsive. More on this in the next copy of Helicopter Life out in Spring 2014.

The helicopter designer Jacky Tonet started this design in 2006, and the H2S was launched this year, shortly followed by the VLH design the H3.

I also flew the H3 and found that a lot lighter on the controls. It is still a nice helicopter but you have to work harder with the H3 as the power to weight ratio is lower, owing to the necessity of keeping the Gross weight below 450kgs. The tail rotor on both machines is really effective. Both machines rev over 5,000 rpm so the tail rotor is a little noisy, but it works well.

Both helicopters are extremely good value for their class - the H3 being a bit over 100 thousand Euros and the H2S another 30 thousand above that. You can build a kit, as required by some countries, but Dynali prefer it if you either build your machine either in their factory, or receive training from their engineers. There are also factory built models but these are uncertified and so would not be allowed in the UK. Other countries have different regulations. Dynali prefer selling the factory built models as they feel this is safer.

Junior performing his ground staff duties!

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Upper Air Work

Rotorway with helipac for luggage
Today, did the ground exam and some upper airwork on the R162F.
Ground exam was very interesting. It is open book, which means you get to really look at the flight manual, not something one does enough. The questions made me think. For example, how exactly are the controls made up - of cables and rods, but which type and how. What is the best fuel to use on the 162, and which fuels can you take if they are available. Unleaded MOGAS is best, but ask yourself, is 4-Star leaded or unleaded? In a car it matters, but in a helicopter it matters more. I really enjoyed doing the exam.
We then went off and did upper air work - wow these military guys are daring when it comes to choosing confined areas!
Autos to a spot - needs work, again it was surprising how little distance the 162 covers in auto compared to the H500, the B206 or even the R22 - the Schweizer does have rather a brick like glide so that is not unsimilar!
We did FADEC errors. Here if there is a problem an amber or red light will appear on the FADEC. The number will be in the A or B viewer. Looking up the number (they are listed below) tells you what is affected, and then you think if it is, for example, a water pump, how much that will affect you. Advice from the manufacturer is: red light - land at once. Amber light, land when it is safe to do so. In truth, it is better to land and sort out the problem while on the ground, than hanging around in the air and (distracted) perhaps not hanging around... if you get my drift.

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Saturday weather and Rotorway 162F

Three little Rotorways
Woke up on Saturday morning to blue skies and light winds. Brilliant, I thought, perfect day for learning about autorotations in the Rotorway.
As I drove north I noticed increasing cloud... ah, that will teach me for not taking the early slot! By the time I got to the airfield it was 300 feet in mist...
We did manage to get hovering on the farm, and in spite of rain on the windscreen - I notice incidentally that the balance-wool makes a little hole to see through - it was fine for low level work.
We worked on flapback and how to control the 162F in quick stops. I noticed that low RPM leads to lack of tail rotor authority, plenty of practice there. All good fun though, dashing up and down the farm tracks and no houses near by so nobody to piss off. Wonderful.
I'm growing to rather like these little Rotorways.

Saturday, 16 November 2013

Day Two Rotorway Type Rating

G-KEVL having the fuel level checked
After a Rotorway 162F has had an annual and been given new tail rotor belts these must be 'bedded in,' to ensure that the belts will not slip in the future. To do this, it is necessary to hover for 2.5 hours.
As I am building hours on the Rotorway, Kevin Longhurst kindly asked if I would like to hover his machine for increments up to 2.5 hours. Excellent practice for me.
We started with 10 minute hops (hover hops) in which I mostly hovered still or did turns... carefully, noticing that RPM drops off considerably in a left turn and has to be replaced quickly or tail rotor authority diminishes. We landed after each 10 minutes and had the belts checked. They were fine. We then progressed to 20 minute hops. More static hovering, more turns on the spot and sideways, backwards and forwards. Even some landings, and some slopes.
Slopes are interesting right skid up. This is because the right skid lands first anyway, and now, with a slope to the left, you definitely notice the swing downwards.
Finally, on to the last half hour, by now the belts are pretty certainly embedded but we are just making certain. So, we could go over the hedge and fly around the field next door....weeeeeee. What fun! It may be a kit helicopter but it is still a helicopter and still great to fly. Try one!
G-WOOF flies down from Scotland for every annual!

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Type Rating on the Rotorway 162F

Bull brothers' Rotorway GBWUJ
I am doing a type rating on the Rotorway 162F. This, plus further hours up to 15 in total, will allow me to examine and teach on the kit helicopter series the Rotorway. My teacher is John Jackson and I am learning at Street Farm in Stansted, the home of the UK Rotorway distributors.
Day one, we started with theory. This is particularly interesting as the Rotorway 162F is a kit helicopter and as such has differences from the main series of aircraft known as helicopters. We started with Foibles!
The 162F has three main foibles. NB I would like to point out these are not disadvantages they are interesting and significant differences which should be taken into account while flying the Rotorway.
First, lag in the controls. That means there is a time delay between a control input and the response. It is a function of rotorhead control and balance.
Secondly, the 162F has a tendency towards flapback eg the blade will lift on the occurrence of a gust or while transitioning. While this is normal in helicopters the 162F is particularly sensitive in this matter.
Thirdly, the gearing of the controls is much less than in normal helicopters, which leads to distinctive handling characteristics.
162F Engine
More about why this happens later. Some of it is intrinsic to the Rotorway, other parts are normal for two blade helicopters.

Next we went for a flight. The Rotorway is particularly sensitive in pitch, so it is important to be aware of this when taking off and hovering, particularly downwind. We had a 13 knot wind, 220 degrees, which meant us lifting with about 5 knots of crosswind and then hovering over the hedge and turning downwind into the field.
Start-up I will go into in more depth later, but suffice to say we started up, hopped the hedge and turned downwind. Here it is possible to run out of back cyclic. We were fine but I could feel the stick touching the back of the stops. Interesting. More later and in Helicopter Life magazine Christmas issue.

Friday, 25 October 2013

Weekend in Serbia October 2013

Nato bombed government building

We saw an Orthodox wedding taking place in this church
Went to Serbia on a trip organized by Mitch the Magnificent, one of her Mystical Tours. First one we have been on and definitely will lead to many more - a hilarious and fun filled weekend.

We started in Belgrade, which has a mixture of old and new buildings. This is partly because, being a Balkans' country, they have a history of war and destruction. At one point the guide told us with pleasure that there was a period of 130 years of peace. 130 years! Not much peace in a couple of millennia.

In spite, or perhaps because, of this history of war, the Serbians know how to live it up and there are plenty of bars and restaurants in Belgrade. Places were full of music and dancing. Two nights we went to restaurants with live music, and one evening we danced between the tables - apparently later it is on the tables. However, most of the food was awful, and the wine was for those who like quantity rather than quality.

We saw a few heros, including Victor Winner here who was moved from the town square out to the Kalemegdan Fortress after complaints from 'local ladies'. Perhaps they were disappointed by his big feet.

On Saturday we visited Tito's tomb. He died in 1980 and apparently his wife was under house arrest for the next 33 years, until her death this year. Her book about Tito has just been published. The tomb was interesting but lacked flamboyance. There were lots of statues in the gardens, copies of famous statues elsewhere and by well-known (at least in Serbia) Serbian sculptors.

On Sunday we took a coach to Novi Sad, the second largest city in Serbian and known for its heavy bombing and complete bridge destruction in 1999. An interesting and historic town, much of which still remains intact. On the way we stopped at a former monastery with a wonderful atmosphere and antique and soulful wall paintings. We also visited a vineyard, some nice wine, some rather strange, and a centre of beekeeping.

It struck me that Serbia is still trying to come to terms with its past. Its history is so full of war, confusion and regulation that it will take years to get used to the freedom and peace of the present. Our guide told us that jobs are few, particularly for the middleaged, and that social security is insufficient to live on. The government is not rich. Serbia is in the process of joining the EU, she has been accepted and should be a member by 2014, however we saw no signs that they were joining the currency, so presumably this is just an initial stage. What happens next will probably be a slow acceptance into the bigger European community, but one thing is certain, Serbia could do with more than 130 years of peace in this millennium.
Victor Winner

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Cavalon Flying @ Booker

Gee in Cavalon @ Booker
Went flying in the Cavalon gyrocopter today at Booker, Wycombe Air Park.
Wonderful little machine and extremely stable. If it were a sailing boat you would consider it a cruiser as it can fly for five hours without having to refuel, you can fly hands off, and it will go at 100 miles an hour - rather faster than a sail boat!

It was a little squirrely in take off, probably the result of a castoring nosewheel, but very stable in flight and would make a really good tourer. I enjoyed flying it. It lands and stops in no distance at all... NB. I have been told by Andy Wall - Cavalon salesman - that the Cavalon does not have a castoring nosewheel. So, there must be another reason for the squirreling on take-off. He has offered to let me do circuits in the machine - I will see if I can do better... watch this space for what, I hope, is not a disaster!

For more and a wider choice of pictures see the Winter edition of Helicopter Life magazine.

Sunday, 6 October 2013

HeliExpo at Goodwood

MD902 Explorer used by Kent & Surrey Air Ambulance
Phoenix Helicopters at Goodwood airfield had an open day today with the air ambulance MD902 from Kent and Surrey, a Hiller and several other helicopters. I was expecting the appearance of several Rotorways but by the time I left that had not yet arrived.

Interesting chat with both the doctor and the pilot of the MD902. Both like the 902 as an ambulance platform.

Kent and Surrey HEMS have to raise 6 million pounds a year to cover expenses and these are entirely raised by public contributions.

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

HeliTech @ Excel

AgustaWestland AW139 from SA
Day one and two at HeliTech 2013. The new venue is Excel, which is certainly easier to get to, but does have some disadvantages - notably that private pilots (indeed most pilots) cannot fly in.

There are some good things. I have been visited by many subscribers and friends - have chatted to many potential advertisers and subscribers, and there are some good machines here - like the AW139 left. But is does lack the buzz of HeliTech Duxford, and indeed HeliExpo. Hard to say why - might be the lack of outside air and flying helicopters.

Next year will be in Amsterdam. I've said I will go, but who knows how good that will be - I just hope there is room for some actual flying.

Bell has a B429 at the show, it is flying in and out of the car park and doing flights with potential customers down to Rochester and back. The other helicopters seem to be static only, which is a pity.

For the future Bell are excited that the JetRanger Lite is getting a LOT of interest. Gary Slater, the UK distributor, says that if he could already take deposits he would be rolling in it! I, like everyone else, am really looking forward to seeing the new machine.

Eurocopter has the T2s, both EC130T2 and EC145T2 are at the show. There have been a few problems with them, so no chance to fly them at the moment.

Sikorsky is also at the show. No Enstrom though, or Robinson, but a showing from Cabri, with a Swedish Guimbal on static display.

PremiAir has relaunched as a corporate charter company. The new MD was also trying to convince a skeptical press that Blackbushe is the new West London Heliport. Humm. I live in West London and it takes me an hour to drive to Blackbushe- work it out for yourself! At least Oxford London offers you a helicopter flight into Battersea.

More tomorrow.

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

LPCs or now PCs

Bell 206
Wonderful couple of days doing proficiency checks - what used to be called LPCs but now, with the EASA regulations, has changed its name to something more confusing. Normal!

First did a couple of JetRanger PCs in Kent, wonderful flying weather, and both guys flew very well.

Two days later down in Dorset. Very windy and wonderfully eccentric places to fly from, which made it very exciting. We came in and out of some very small yards - at least one of which was for engineering.

Then if was a bit of H300 flying - the wind blew us around a little, but those little Schweizers are wonderous tough, and we had a lovely flight once the rain had blown through.

Another 300 flight tomorrow, weather permitting, and then should be a 500 on Friday - once again depending on the weather.

Thursday, 11 July 2013

Rotorway Roughnecks Fly-in

Went to a private site near Rochester (the home of Kevin Longhurst) for a Rotorway fly-in for an article in Helicopter Life.  Four very different Rotorways flew in, with five (six including Jonathon Ball of the Rotorway Brothers) pilots.
Fascinating. These were two Rotorway 162s (Kevin and Paul Vaughan) one Rotorway 90 (Ian Brown) and one Rotorway 162E modified (Bruce Alexander) - that is with a Talon engine and a very other differences.
While the machines were basically the same, the also had their own unique due to the uniqueness of the builders.

There are also some differences between Rotorways and more conventional helicopters. One is that the engine is watercooler. While car manufacturers are aware that water cooling an engine is more efficient, usually in aviation the weight of the water is sufficient to make air cooling the preferred method.

Other differences include the start-up, in which the collective is raised, to make the blades neutral pitch,
and 1.5 Manifold Pressure put on the gauge (eighth of an inch of throttle) which helps ease the engine-blade relationship; another is a weight (25 - 33 lbs) which is placed on the front skid if the pilot flies solo, or on a back shaft (under the start of the tail boom) if there are two in the cockpit.
More in Helicopter Life Autumn issue, but it was a very enjoyable day flying the machines and very instructive. I like the Rotorway and I was impressed what a nice fun group they have there, all of whom clearly love flying and in particular love flying the Rotorway.

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

500 Training

Tomas Sorenson and GCCUO
So, the eight days of training on the H369 G-CCUO is now finished and the helicopter returned to HalfPenny Green alias Wolverhampton. It has been an interesting and successful week, with experiments with the rpm, with autos, with tail rotor failures - both in flight and in the hover. We have looked at both normal flight and emergencies, navigation and airfield work. It has been a thorough test of the possibilities available to the helicopter.
We now know this one weighs 1571 lbs and that that gives it a lot of carrying power given that the all up weight is 3000 lbs. This is not always true of H369s - which, although always powerful, are often carrying more basic weight because they have auxillary tanks or more instruments etc. G-CCUO is a light machine, and therefore, perhaps, more suitable for training and rental.
Gee and G-CCUO
Tomas is now back to Kenya, back to working on getting his own machine (now beautifully painted by Edmondson) to Kenya, either via an American N reg or thanks to Kenyan inspectors who come here to the UK to certify it for the Kenyan register.
His future is now with flying in Kenya. I hope the training he had here works well for him.

Sunday, 30 June 2013

Autorotations and confined areas in H369

We were attempting to see if we could change the autorotation characteristics of the H369, by varying the speed and RPM.
In the manual it says:
"to reduce the rate of descent or extend the gliding distance, operate at minimum rpm - maintain rotor between 420 and 523 by use of collective control."
To do this, and to keep the engine from coming back in (which would mean you return to powered flight) you must close the throttle to idle. Then you can play with collective pitch.

It also explains: - rotor rpm is 485 + 5rpm at 2250 lbs, sea level and 60 knots.
Rotor speed will decrease 10 rpm for every 100 lb reduction in gross weight and increase 6.5 rpm for each 1000 foot in DA (density altitude).

We started with autorotations at 60- 80 knots and full down collective, rpm around 523. The rate of descent was between 1500 fpm and 2000 fpm - ie fast . The we began varying the RPM.

We were at sea level and the temperature was around 20 degrees C. We could change the speed easily, but even raising the collective quite significantly kept the rpm around 490, it did not seem keep to go lower. However, at 490 rpm, assuming the VSI and altimeter were fairly accurate, we were losing less than 500 fpm, as we glided around and almost seemed to hover.
Changing the rpm, even from 520 (we cannot tell 3 rpm) to 490 (30 rpm) had a huge effect on the rate of descent.

Teaching on the H369/MD500

G & GCCUO at Oxford
Had a very interesting training day, today.
First, when we were doing the pre-start checks there was no 'clicking' sound from the automatic relight, which seem to indicate it was not working. I rang an engineer to find out why this would happen - but he was at Silverstone awaiting the Grand Prix - so busy. Tomas got out and went back to the engine bay, to check if he could see anything loose. Nothing obvious.
We decided to start up and hover for a while anyway - should we have any problems we would only be in the hover.
We started up, and taxied out - called immediately by the tower - our engine bay canopy was open and flapping. Stop and fix.
I jumped out and fastened it. Shows two things: one, that it cannot be seen from the instructor's seat, and two, that it is very easy to forget to do things when you get distracted.
Having fastened the canopy, I got back in the cockpit and called the tower that it was done. However, they said - no - shut down it must be properly checked. I agreed and we did so.
After we had shut-down the Airfield Manager came over. Taking off without properly closing the canopy is an MO (Minor incident?) and thus must be logged and properly checked in case the hinges had been affected. I checked them, they were OK, we had not, after all, taxied very far. No problem.

When we did our pre-start-up checks the automatic relight clicking was working again, so probably it is a bit like recycling your computer!
Then, we did a hot-engine start-up - good practice for Tomas. Here, because the engine is already around 350 degrees C, you must reduce the TOT to before 150 degrees C before putting in the fuel, to avoid a hot engine-start.
You understand the difference - one we are talking of a pre-start engine heat of about 350 degrees C, the other is what you want to avoid, the engine temperature going over 810 degrees centigrade for 10 seconds, and even more over 927 degrees C for more than a second.
When you do see the temperature heading up there (usually when there is a low powered or faulty battery) it does make your heart pump!
Started up without incident, and flew away for some more autorotation and confined area practice.

Thursday, 27 June 2013

Flying in Devon, UK

Flying Egg in Devon, Swimbridge
Does no one in Devon fly? Or is it that they do not fly low level? Airbox 250 maps stop at Axminster and thereafter have a vaguely dismissive green colour - flying be not done here where the non-wings live, oh ah - ! I tried to get a Map7 (as it is called) at Goodwood but they didn't have one. So, I thought, well I'll get one in Exeter, since we are going there for fuel, they are bound to have one.
But although they did not have an uptodate one, they did have a 2011 one, and gave it to me for free. So, thanks, that was very kind and even though Plymouth no longer has an airport... it was very useful.

Great place to fly Devon. I can't imagine why everyone isn't flying there - it was brilliant, uncrowded and absolutely beautiful. And nice place to practice sloping ground landings for real. This picture shows the least sloping part of the whole local area!

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

H369/500 training two Kenyans day two

GCCUO at Goodwood airfield
Nice morning doing 360 autos, low level flying, circuits etc.

In the afternoon Tomas Sorenson arrived to join Al Llewelyn and me. His helicopter is being painted at Edmundson at Thruxton so we thought we would fly over there and see how it was looking. In my typically hopeless way I just assumed they would be there - no need to call.
Nice flight over there, through Solent CTA and Boscombe Down. Land at Heli north and taxy to the heli parking area.
However, I should have called. As we walked over it was clear there were no dogs outside the painting hangar... no dogs usually means no owners... heigh ho. No owners!
Silly old me. We will visit again tomorrow!

This beautifully painted Gazelle was next to us at Goodwood.

Big thanks to the guys at Goodwood for pushing the 500 in and out of the hangar. It is a heavy machine!

Training at Goodwood on the H500 day one

Preparatory to training two Kenyan lads on the H500, I went up to Wolverhampton to pick it up, to bring it down to Goodwood.
Pushed out of hangar etc... signed out, checked out.
Ready to start - ignite - chug chug chug N1 can hardly get itself up to 13%.
Flat battery.
I rang the owner - busy - call back.
We went into the cafe (we are pilots - where else) and there were the police - who have an EC135.
The police kindly agreed to lend us their APU (Auxilliary Power Unit), however this runs from mains power and that meant three extension cable connections from the power source. Whether it was the connections or the strength of their battery it was hard to say - but UO chugged some more and would not fire.

The police wondered about the battery on their heavylifter. Then had a brilliant idea. PNG next door had an APU and an engineer who knew about 500s, should there be a further problem. It was the answer. New APU attached and BINGO, UO sprang into life.

Many many thanks to all the guys at HelfPenny Green. I could see a week's work going down the drain and being replaced by some long days in the engineering hangar/cafe waiting!

Flew on to High Wycombe as one of the lads used to have a British 500 rating and we needed to spend some time at an ATO to get the licence regenerated. Now at Goodwood. More later.

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Examining on the Loach

Loach in its hangar
Today, it was back to the day job! Examining a very good student on the OH-06 Loach (older version of the H369). He should be good - he is an A2 RAF instructor on the Bell 212s (Griffen.)
We flew from the pad up to Blackpool via various upper airwork sites and it was a very enjoyable flight including 360 autorotations, quick stops (RAF style) and confined landings.
Needless to say he passed.

Anyone interested might want to look out for the Loach and its co worker the Huey on the airshow circuit.

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Paris Le Bourget Air Show day two

James Wang with Project Zero
Day two at Paris, Le Bourget Air Show. Interesting talk with James Wang the innovator of Project Zero a helicopter technology test bed. Choosing the shape of the test bed he apparently said: helicopters have been flying for 60 years and the shape has not changed at all - why don't we try something new.
The test bed, which flew remotely, is powered by batteries stacked in-line, with an electric motor and individually accuated blades. The body and the blades are composite - although with metal where necessary, eg on the electric motor and the rivets etc.
The project flew 6 months ago and since then has been the design team's secret (some 20 people). However, current circumstances (they say) which presumably means the India bribery scandal, has led to them bringing the project to Paris to get some positive PR.

More in the Summer issue of Helicopter Life magazine.

Monday, 17 June 2013

Paris Le Bourget Air Show

Soon to be unveiled Turbomeca engine
Day One at the Paris Le Bourget Air Show, and you have to give Bell a prize for this one. They and Turbomeca have produced what was probably the only interesting thing at the show - speaking from a helicopter viewpoint - the New JetRanger to be....

Turbomeca have made the Arrius R2 engine specially to meet the necessities of the new Bell Short Light Single helicopter. Or the JetRanger Lite.
So far we have been told that it will use some of the dynamic parts of the B206 - ie it will be a teetering head and use the same gear box, but that many parts including the cockpit, skids and, I think John Garrison said, the fuselage will to totally new. Garrison declined to name the helicopter - that will be done at HeliExpo, but he did say that the engine will be fully tested by the beginning of 2014 and they hope to do text flights in 2014 and have certification after that as soon as... It will almost certainly be on the same type rating.

Well done Bell.
Arrius R2 engine

Other than that there has not been much new at the show. We were told some more about the Relentless - see the Summer edition of Helicopter Life magazine - and the V22 is doing well.

Eurocopter and AgustaWestland have briefings tomorrow - so maybe a couple of 'almost new's from there...
Sikorsky is not here - but they are busy with tenders - more of that later -

No MD, but they don't do Paris do they.

Friday, 14 June 2013

H369 Proficiency Check

After trying for three months to get my proficiency check on the H369 done today we finally succeeded. It was an early start - left London at 7 for a three and a half hour drive to Devon, but definitely worth it. The H500 is such a great machine to fly, so powerful, so manoeuverable and just such a lovely beastie. We had to do two hours and they were both full of interesting stuff.
Autos were excellent on the little bird (hoho) and I learnt a new way to deal with stuck pedals if the problem happens when you have just taken off. Keeping the yaw left and using it as you turn into wind and slow, then bring in the power and see the machine straighten.
The 500 is based at the examiner's house and what a nice set-up he has with his hangar in the garden - could hardly be better.
We did the airfield work at Dunkeswell. I'd never been there before but it is a lovely, energetic but not too busy little airfield. Well worth a visit and also had a good restaurant.

Saturday, 1 June 2013

Sky Watch, Civil Air Patrol

Xenon gyrocopter from Poland
Sky Watch Civil Air Patrol uses entirely private pilots on a volunteer basis. This is especially true in Scotland, where there is only one government funded police helicopter, and where funds are being rescinded rather than increased.
In Scotland, the civil air patrol have two gyrocopters and an R22. All the pilots are ex-military and their work is mostly observation, looking for lost mountain climbers, SAR and any work where they can aid the police.
There are also two gyrocopters in Cumbria doing the same work.
Sky Watch gives briefings and training sessions to new pilots and will send an experience pilot with newbies, to help navigation and advise where necessary. They will also arrange mountain flying courses.
There are currently 200 gyrocopters in the UK, many of whom are working in some capacity with the Sky Watch Civil Air Patrol.

Friday, 31 May 2013

AeroExpo 2013

Agusta 109
Well, here we are again at another AeroExpo - this time back at Sywell instead of Czechie and 2013 instead of 2012, but they roll around.

Bit of deja vue but less so. Same helicopters but many fewer gyrocopters. I have a feeling this kind of show, with its much greater emphasis on fixed wing and ultralight, is not really a good place for selling gyrocopters. Still may be more tomorrow.

One interesting booth is the Campaign Against the CAA! This group, which comes from Panshanger in Essex, thinks there should be an ombudsman to regulate the CAA. They feel that the CAA are just pushing up prices to increase their incomes and pensions and no one is able to stop or regulate them. They may be right, but chances are an ombudsman will push up the prices even more.

No one, incidentally, seems to be interested or worried in the current consultation by the CAA to charge for using the radio... in fact most people haven't even heard of it..

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Apache pilot's course

Went to Middle Wallop in the UK to see how to become an Apache pilot starting from ab initio and all paid for by Her Majesty's government. Sadly I am way too old, and when I was young enough women did not fly in the UK military, anyway I doubt if I ever had the 'right stuff'. Bit too wet, me.

Anyway, it was fascinating. Pictures were a bit limited, though if I saw anything secret I would never know. I also went round the sim - very lifelike graphics for a sim.

I would put a picture here but blogspot is playing up, so later!

Friday, 24 May 2013

Fama Kiss flight

Flying the Fama KISS with Nino - Aldina Hadzic in background
Yesterday, I flew with one of my former students to Bologna to fly the small turbine helicopter the Fama KISS. The student, John Heath, is interested in buying one and in becoming the British distributor. He is working with the CAA to see how possible this might be.
I had an interesting flight. At first the KISS would not start, owing to the ignition breaker having been left out. Then we got a hung start because the battery charge was too low. However, all these things were overcome and we took off to fly up to the hover area.
I was happy in the hover. There is more lateral travel than I'm used to, but the machine was nice and responsive and I enjoyed hovering it. However, when we took off the vibration was awful - I looked in amazement at Nino, and he looked annoyed with the machine. The blades must need tracking, he said. We flew for a while, but the vibration was getting worse, so we came back and landed, Nino still muttering about tracking.
When we landed, however, and Nino had a look around the machine he found it was not the tracking that was lacking, but that a bolt in the head had sheared off! Considering we had no back pitch it flew pretty well!
His mechanics rushed out and in a few moments (half an hour) the fault was fixed.
John then went flying and commented how smooth it was. I think I will fly it again and see what the full KISS is like!

Saturday, 11 May 2013

Hradec Kralove Art Gallery

This is a really special art gallery - The Museum of Modern Art - in Hradec Kralove and I thought it was completely wonderful and worth travelling to HK for.

Concepts from the artists included a woman encased in her own thoughts and fears, a picture that could be viewed from both sides using a mirror, a sculpture of a Dandy, made from pieces of bicycle, an artist eating his palette, because, presumably, he would not make any art that would give him the money to eat and many other thought-provoking pieces. I loved it.

Artists eating his palette

EHS Air Display day three

Fly-by of 13 helicopters
Day three at the European Helicopter Show ended with a fabulous air display. It started with a fly-by of thirteen helicopters - something of a record in itself. This was followed by fire-fighting, a medical rescue, new light helicopter display by the FAMA Kiss helicopter, a Stampe air display, an Extra showing its paces, the Red Bull Cobra and many other wonderful and extraordinary delights. It was a brilliant end to the show.

Friday, 10 May 2013

Bike Garage Hradec Kralove

Bike garage
Hradec Kravlove's bike garage. Bike are taken up the ramp on the left hand side and put in to the lift, whence they can be taken up do whichever floor is desired, pushed out and secured in the bike spaces. Just like a multistorey car park.

Six to Six robot

Six to Six is an interesting flying robot which can carry a still or video camera for use by a ground handler. The handler can see what the robot camera sees either on the computer monitor or through special viewing spectacles.

Flooding resistant barrier bags

Before water
Other interesting booths included the LECRA Barrier Bag. This is a Japanese invention, marketed by the Swedes. It is a small packable bag weighing 300 grams and made of polymers. When the bag is soaked in water it grows and becomes a 23 kilo block forming a barrier to further intrusion from water. This can be used in flood and best of all easily carried to the site - perhaps by helicopter.
After water has been added

Day Two part two EHS

Day Two at the European Helicopter Show, started with about twenty students rushing through the gate - we got very excited seeing this as a tide of visitors, but actually they were on their way somewhere else and never even entered the show hangar.
Apart from that early rush, day two had about the same amount of people as day one, and consequently I spent most of the day talking to exhibitors and taking photos.
Left is the Astar, Squirrel or AS350 practicing its display for tomorrow. We are hoping the weather will get better - it started raining this evening and has kept up a long slow drizzle ever since - and that tomorrow will bring a host of enthusiasts and pilots.

Nice barbecue this evening with, perhaps, wild boar meat.

David Herbert, HL subscriber, with the Cobra