Friday, July 9, 2010

Now I have the bucks, it's time to get started

I didn't have the money to start my training and part of the agreement was that I was to pay for all the flight time up front before beginning.  At the time I had an interest in Model A Ford cars. I owned several cars in various different stages and also many extra parts. This was going to be my way to finance my training.  I ran a couple ads in the local paper and by the end of the day, everything was gone and I was ready to get started with my training.

For every experience fixed wing pilot that has elected to try their hand at helicopters, I am sure they have had this same humiliating feeling.  My first attempt at controlling the helicopter was like nothing I have ever tried before.   Bicycles, cars, motorcycles, boats, airplanes just don't compare.  Roller skates maybe?  Your limbs are all attached to one of the helicopters controls and the movement of any one of them affects the other three.  I won't begin to try and tell you how to fly a helicopter, but in the beginning it really leaves you with some questionable thoughts about whether you will ever master the machine?  I had already made a sizable investment,  then I was  beginning to see what Jerry Getz meant, when he said, " I doubt you will meet the requirements in the minimum time"

This is a view of the interior of the Hughes 269A helicopter.  Even though it is very simple  looking,  Most helicopters even today have these same basic flight controls.
 In most helicopters, the pilot is seated in the right seat.  This is not true with airplanes where the pilot in command usually is seated in the left seat.  The collective control is operated with the left hand and also contains a twist grip throttle, kind of like a motorcycle. This control, controls the up and down or vertical movement of the helicopter.  It also controls speed and altitude when the movement is combined with the cyclic flight control. The cyclic control is held with the right hand and this tilts the rotor system in the desired direction of flight. Up, down, left or right.  What is not shown in this picture are the two pedals on the floor in front of the pilot's feet.  These are referred to as anti-torque pedals.  Similar to rudder pedals found in an airplane but the function is not the same.

The first few hours of helicopter training can be the most frustrating.  It takes a good flight instructor to get you over that,  "I can't do it feeling".  More on this in the next post........

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