Flying through

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.