Wednesday, October 20, 2010

BI Flights

Sit in a chair and stare at me for 2 hours.  Welcome to BI's.

Finally done with Sims! Which means now I get to stare at an instrument panel in a real helicopter? Please and thank you. All kidding aside, I am really excited to get back in the aircraft. The simulator truly feels like a game, and the instructors teach you how to “beat” it. “Set this nose attitude, set this power, turn this angle, ok… now take your hand off the controls! See it flies itself!” Yeah, ok. Not so much in a real helicopter. You have thermals you have to deal with, the shuddering of a real helicopter, and the AFCS (Automatic Flight Control System) isn’t so automatic. BI flights are the beginning of very long days for students. Not only do you have to fly a flight for yourself, but because you wear a “hood,” another student sits in the back so that he/she can clear (look out a window) the right side of the aircraft. I don’t have a lot of pictures for these flights, mainly because there isn’t much to them. It is the same maneuvers over and over, the same ones that you learned in the simulator. The difference is that you are “eased” into the RI portion of the syllabus which includes flying approaches and departures. That is all for now, see you soon.

JR… out!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Basic Instruments 101

Ah… Basic Instruments. Not called Basic because they are any less sophisticated than any other instruments, but basic because we are learning to fly using only instruments (no outside references) at a “basic level.” Basically (no puns) the student shows up at the appropriate time, and sits in a cubicle waiting for a civilian instructor to come and start the brief off. Most of the civilian instructors have been around for a long time. I mean FOREVER. A couple might have even had a hand in inventing the helicopter. Anyways, the brief normally isn’t too hard or painful… which makes sense. This is “basic” instruments. On to the simulator you go (after the instructor gets another cup of coffee and a pee break) and you strap into that metal box. It is actually a really cool simulator, and makes me wish I had millions to spend on a large video game that doesn’t take quarters. The instructor sits in the copilot seat for these sims (the left seat) and gives you some instruction on how to complete the maneuvers. Most of the maneuvers involve changing an altitude, airspeed, heading, or a combination of the three. The degree of how accurate you execute the maneuver is how you are graded. (Think flying in the clouds, no visual horizon, only flying using the instruments in front of you.) BI sims get repetitive, and some of the instructors are… let’s just say not everyone’s favorite. But mastering a few of the maneuvers here is supposed to increase your instrument scan, and make you a better pilot. Enjoy the pics, more to come!

JR… out.