All posts by jufam44

Robinson R44 Cadet

Announced in late 2015 and now available to order, the Robinson R44 Cadet is a brand-new training and versatile use aircraft. The new model incorporates some unique changes over previous R44 models, making it ideal for the training pilot or anyone looking to develop their skills in a modern helicopter with easy maneuverability and impressive performance at high altitudes.

Based on the original Robinson Raven, the Cadet has been modified to make it ideal for a training helicopter. The rear seats have been removed from the airframe, leaving the helicopter with two seats for pilot and instructor use.

The engine is a six-cylinder Lycoming carbureted engine, the same as available in other R44 helicopters. The difference with the Cadet is that the engine has been de-rated, giving it 185hp available for continuous flying and 210hp available at takeoff. The reduced power, combined with the lower weight, make the helicopter more efficient when considering performance at higher altitudes. Due to engine de-tuning, servicing and overhaul times are extended, making it a great investment for flight schools or private operators who seek affordable solutions.

The Cadet’s Maximum Gross Weight is 2200lbs, and it carries 177lbs of standard fuel (with the capability of carrying 102lbs Auxiliary fuel), and it has a maximum range of 300nm.

As a training helicopter, the Cadet is ideal for a number of reasons. Because it is based on the larger 4 seat platform, it allows beginner pilots to develop experience with a mid-sized helicopter, without having to deal with the extra weight or power. This is beneficial for developing skills in a scalable and safe environment.

The smaller size and reduced power also means that operating costs are lower, so flight schools and private operators can cut down on expenses. Best case scenario, total operating costs per hour can be as low as $203.00, which can make for more affordable training sessions, increasing the accessibility of helicopter pilot lessons in a number of key markets.

With a list price of $339,000.00 USD, the R44 Cadet is one of the more affordable helicopters in its class. This is the base price with standard configuration; however, operators can choose to fit optional extras like leather seats, air conditioning, door observation bubble windows, extra instruments and panels, and a variety of extra features. Options can be factory installed by Robinson, and Robinson also offers ground support extras.

The R44 platform is popular throughout the world, and the new Cadet model leverages the standards set by Robinson, with a lighter and leaner package that favors students and private operators alike. With accessible pricing, the R44 Cadet is likely to be a popular model in the coming years.

Casey Ryan Richards

Rooftop Helipads

Rooftop Heliports

If you have ever flown over downtown LA, you have seen the sea of helipads that dot the landscape. As pilots, we often dream of taking off and landing from these buildings. The idea of running our daily errands in a helicopter like we would a car is appealing, but the reality is that few helicopter pilots will ever get the chance to land on top of a high-rise building. Recreational pilots will likely never get the chance to even practice in a crowded city center where most roof top helipads exist. Crowded urban areas are dangerous training grounds and not well suited for single engine helicopter training, but this doesn’t meant that instructors cannot prepare their students for rooftop operations.

Flight instructors can safely emulate rooftop landings and takeoffs using any pinnacle. Rooftop heliports are nothing more that man-made pinnacles. A hilltop or any elevated surface can be used to duplicate similar conditions. When instructing students, have them imagine the lower ground to be a crowded city center. They must practice gaining both altitude and speed at the same time. The natural reaction for a pilot if to dive off the side of the pinnacle to gain speed, but this doesn’t work in a urban area. There would be other buildings to deal with and the goal must be to gain altitude while moving the helicopter away from the city center.

Helicopter flight training cannot always occur in the ideal environment.. We must work with the geography we are provided, but it is also important for flight instructors to teach there students to confront all environments that they may encounter. Remember, students will go on to leave the environment in which they train and so it is important to teach them how to operate safely under every condition they may encounter.

Casey Ryan Richards

Running Takeoffs in Helicopters

Running takeoffs are easier and more appropriate in wheeled helicopters (think the Augusta/Westland 109) then in skid helicopters (Robinisons, Bells, etc) typically used in training operations. Skids can wear out or damage the surface of the runway over time. Plus, there is the noise factor to consider. The sound of a Robinson R22 making a running takeoff can only be compared to a giant running his fingernails along the world’s largest chalkboard.

The main reason we practice running takeoffs is to show students how to takeoff when power is not available to hover. Generally, if there is not enough power available to hover then it is not safe to complete the flight. Helicopter performance in unpredictable and if there is not enough power to hover, there is no way to be sure that there is enough power to make a running takeoff. Students should be taught to recognize an inability to hover as a warning sign. The appropriate response is to reduce gross weight, not to force the helicopter into a running takeoff.

Running takeoffs increase the operation envelop of the helicopter and allows for takeoffs or landings in low power situations They are most frequently used in high density altitude operations.

TO complete a running takeoff, the pilot will apply about half as much collective power as they would to hover while applying forward cyclic input. This will cause the helicopter to lift weight off the skids and tilt the rotor disc forward to cause forward motion.

As speed increase, the helicopter will transition through translation lift airspeed. AT this point, the pilot should increase collective pitch, apply aft cyclic pressure, and begun to climb to altitude.

For the typical helicopter pilot, running takeoffs are a maneuver the will be practiced often and used seldom. Always remember if you helicopter cannot hover it is tell you you that it is to heavy for atmospheric conditions. Always listen to your helicopter.

Casey Ryan Richards