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Comments Comments In Marchof the 13, aircraft on the Australian civil register, or That number is growing every year — a clear indication that the appeal of the rotary-wing sector remains alive and well. But what makes piloting rotary-wing aircraft that much different to piloting their fixed-wing counterparts?
Is transitioning between fixed and rotary-wing a simple skills set conversion with a fair share of overlap between the two, or is it a the australian business planning guide new gamut of skills to get acquainted with?
Well, if all your pilot experience has been on wings that are fixed, brace yourself for a brave new world as the transition to rotary-wing flying is a far cry from transitioning between fixed-wing types. The controls are completely different, with different functions and effects, and some even suggest controlling choppers is the complete opposite of fixed-wing aircraft.
On top of that, helicopters themselves are basically unstable and it takes longer to build up your confidence, although more advanced choppers have stability augmentation systems and are much easier to fly.
In a chopper your hands are a lot more busy.
With your left hand you grasp the collective lever, which controls the pitch angle angle of attack of all the rotor blades. Coupled with this, a small amount of anti-torque is used as you roll into a turn, but this is sizeably less than rudder use in fixed-wings.
If more pitch is what you need you increase pitch angle on the tail rotor, which will counter the torque and rotate in the opposite direction.
This absorbs more power, but governed systems usually look after these for you. Well-versed fixed-wing pilots come to expect moderate attitude changes and know that their aircraft will ably correct their little errors due to its natural stability, thereby negating the need to make adjustments to correct unwanted changes in attitude.
So while the fixed-wing pilot can tolerate a fair amount of pitch and roll in the cruise, a rotary-wing pilot will instinctively eliminate those changes in attitude, making for a smoother ride.
And the same thing goes when it comes to that impressive, fine art of hovering. Taking that first step Helicopter schools say they come across the occasional student who takes to helicopter training naturally. The first task is researching prior to selecting a school; you want to find a school that will be honest with you regarding your potential as a helicopter pilot.
If you already hold a fixed-wing PPL or CPL the minimum helicopter training is reduced to 38 hours, but you may not be assessed as competent at that minimum level as individual pilots have their own adaptation rates.
Rotary-wing training is structured similar to that of fixed-wing, starting with effects of controls before progressing to upper-air work, circuit training, and emergency procedures training before First Solo. Next comes consolidation and further exercises through to the general flying progress test GFPTwhich may or may not occur at the hour mark.
The hardest task for budding helicopter pilots is usually mastering the hover.
On the theory side of things, helicopter basic aeronautical knowledge is a separate subject, but other subjects such as navigation, meteorology and flight rules are common to fixed-wing.
Forging a career Career opportunities are on the rise for rotary-wing pilots, with most getting their foot in the door and buidling up experience via general charter work, livestock mustering, tourism support and scenic flights, aerial photography, governmental survey work, power line inspection and environmental survey.
Aerial agriculture is a growing field no pun intendedparticularly weed control on rice, banana plantations, and any other crop with undulating terrain and tight corners. A good way to build that experience is through instructing, and an instructor rating is a qualification that attracts employers.
An operator conducting a mix of flying that includes training, charter and government contract work is likely to offer a wider spectrum of experience that will benefit your future, especially if some of it includes instruction. In fact, in many cases EMS and rescue crews do more training flights than operational missions.Australia's national statistical agency providing trusted official statistics on a wide range of economic, social, population and environmental matters.
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