29 July 2006

Greybeard, You S.O.B.!!

Just a little braggin' here.....

Regular readers know I've now been "pulling pitch" for over 38 years.
I've been teaching others the art of "Pitchpull" since 1969. Hovering, next to learning how to automatically say "yes dear", may have been the hardest thing I ever learned to do.

After learning to hover, landing a helicopter on sloping ground is one of the hardest tasks.
When I want to learn how comfortable a pilot is with his fling-wing machine, I'll put him on top of a steep slope and challenge him to put it on the ground.

Almost always, I'll do the first landing just to show it can be done. I'll land on a really steep surface, then move to a slightly less steep piece of Real Estate and ask the person sharing the cockpit to show me their stuff. Frequently their response is, "You (fill in your favorite affectionate obscenity here), you make it look SO easy!"

My response always is, "yeah, when you've been doing this for as long as I have, it'll be easy for you too!"

Are you comfortable driving your car?
Of course you are!
Consider that I'm in the pilot's seat of a helicopter longer than I am in the driver's seat of an automobile, and you can see why I feel that climbing into that seat is like putting on an old pair of slippers. As an instructor, I also get to practice the stuff that is important when things break. That's important, because when your car breaks, you pull to the side of the road and call the Auto Club. It can be a little more difficult if something breaks on a flying machine. Even then, I'm sure glad to be in a machine I can land in the parking lot right beneath me!

So where am I headed with this? If you are already a fixed-wing pilot, learning to fly a helicopter will make you a better fixed wing pilot. If you are like some of my students and have no interest in flying airplanes, but are fascinated by helicopters, put the money together and go buy an hour of instruction from a helicopter school. The stories you'll be able to tell after that hour alone will make the price of admission worthwhile!

(I recommend you find an instructor that's been doing it since before you were born!)


Aviatrix said...

I'd love to do that. Someday maybe I'll track you down and make you teach me how to fly a helicopter. And then we can go drink beer and argue about how to solve the world's problems.

OlePrairiedog said...

Teach me, Master Obi Wan, I am but a cricket.

Mike Poole said...

4 hrs in an R22 with Greybeard several years ago was worth every penny.