Here we go, after all the arrangements, prep and looking forward, me and Rida started with the IR course today! For the first two weeks we will be doing the AS355 ‘Twin Squirrel’ type rating with Ian, our TR instructor. Then after that we’ll do 40 hours in the simulator followed by 10 hours of actual IFR flying with Clive, our IR instructor. The plan is to get IR rated before the end of November.
Today and tomorrow is all about helicopter familiarisation and performance / system theory. Coming from an environment where we both just fly single engine helicopters, we really have to get used to the multi engine mentality, which is pretty much about taking your time when things go wrong. Engine failure? Trim it out, and get the checklists out to see what the plan is, rather than going down straight away with 1800 feet per minute looking for a field to land in.. It’s a different mindset.
We learned a lot about performance class 1, which applies to all helicopters that are able to keep flying during most stages of flight whenever 1 engine fails. There are certain points during both departures and approaches that will determine whether or not you should abort the take off or approach. This is the Take Off Decision Point (TDP) for the departure and Landing Decision Point (LDP) for the approach. If one of the engines fail after these verbal checks (which happen at a combination of a certain speed and height) the pilot has to continue with the approach or departure (climb away). We are also going to learn how to depart from elevated helipads!
We also covered the A-check and ran through most onboard systems, the amount of stuff is way more and bigger than we are used to in for instance the Cabri: autopilots, more gearboxes, generators, fuel tanks and pumps, bigger blades, more warning lights, longer checklists, rotatable landing lights, more instruments, seats etc and of course: 2 turbine engines. Even the height of all the seats is something to get used to. My eye height in the cockpit seats is almost as high as when I am hovering a cabri at about 3 feet skid height! This results in a lower hover height than required. We’ll get used to it all though, in fact we have to as we will be flying it tomorrow! Stay tuned, will update soon!