The time had come to have the eye opening lesson of Autorotations. I have seen a fair few of them on youtube etc but as per usual nothing on the screen can prepare you for the real thing. I remember saying after, that I thought it was an expensive theme park ride, but in saying that I recognise the importance of a split second reaction that could mean the difference between you (and possibly pax) surviving or becoming a statistic.
I remember being a bit nervous on the first couple and hanging on rather than trying to have some meaningful input into the results just above the ground. Collective down, right pedal, aft cyclic, now forward cyclic cause I've pulled back too far, be ready to control RRPM with some collective, flare, walk it over, collective, left pedal - it was definitely input overload at the beginning . It drops out of the sky quicker than I originally expected and I just basically didn't want to break the machine (obviously with a guy who knows what he's doing next to me I could have relaxed a bit more). I again realise just how much the instructor has to trust you can achieve something (letting you go as far as possible) and stepping in at the right time saving you from a debacle.
After initially coming to terms with lowering the collective "swiftly" and adopting the correct attitude I realised (more in hindsight after the second lesson on it) that the problem wasn't in the entry and glide, it was more initially me trying to stop the machine rather than rolling it over into the hover taxi. I remember the instructor purposely holding the collective down until I "walked" the machine over, skids level, so I could get that attitude right. I could see how important this was before they could let me have a crack at a touchdown.
One important thing I had noticed was that up until now I'd been resting my right hand on the inside of my right leg. This was fine up until auto's where sometimes a fair bit of cyclic travel is required and found the leg was hampering the controlability (stupid leg). We discussed how bad that could be on the next climb out, suffice to say after the lesson and on the way back to base it was on top of my leg (still getting used to that).
As I've found with most modules put before me, initially it feels daunting but after a couple of tries or after another lesson you start to get the feel for it and it's surprising how many elements already have started to become something I don't think about (or is that worry about) during other flying phases.
How slow is the approach to the pad after throwing the machine at the ground for an hour - it felt like I could walk faster (just gave me more time to get it right).
I'm glad there'll be many more of these practiced over the coming months to drill into me the skills required to handle the situation should it arise (touchdowns should be interesting when we get to them).
Passed MET last week - 2 down, 5 to go.
Until next time...
Those who believe in telekinetics, raise my hand
Follow choppernut on his journey to CPL(H).
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