Woke up at the crack of dawn, well it was just before 7:30. Let the dogs out, got breakfast and a coffee. Cruised porn (okay, email, FB, weather). Got up and then trundled up the M5. I was at Staverton airport by 9AM. Popped in the Transair shop, very small. Met up with Captain James, we had a small chat about power levels, inches of mercury (manifold pressure) and attitude (that’s where it’s pointing, not that I’m a cunt). We jumped in the R22 (after I got my cushion). I ran through the check-list and fired her up (is it a she?). James taxied to the heli-pad and then started off on a shallow ascent. At 1000ft I took the cyclic and the pedals. We then did a short circuit around at different airspeeds. I was on top of the flap-back this time and had no problems changing attitudes and airspeeds. I then turned back to the airport and entered a shallow descent. James took over the last 500ft. We then stopped in the circle at the end of the runway. It was hover time! I took the cyclic and the pedals, a couple of wobbles and then I just stayed there. Started playing around a bit, moved around the circle and then got back to the centre of it. I then took over the collective and started varying the heights as well. So that was it, I was in control of everything, I didn’t flip it over, I didn’t whack the tail in the ground and didn’t whack the rotor into the tail boom. Oddly when I turned up there, all thoughts of mast bumping, vortex rings and low rpm stalls vanished. I never felt nervous of frightened at any point. Even when I was solely in control of the whole thing I felt entirely comfortable. It’s no different really to driving a car, except it’s in three dimensions. I spent about half hour practising hovering and landing. I then headed down the runway and James parked it back at the hanger. I was very pleased with my progress. I talked to James about using the simulator, he said, “Whatever you’re doing keep it up it’s working. Even if it chops off a couple of hours that’s going to save you six hundred quid.” So the X-Plane practice has certainly paid off. I’ll try and continue an hour a day on that. If anything actually, the real thing is slightly easier to hover than the simulator, probably because you get a sense of perspective. Next time we are doing ascents and descents at different power levels. It’s going to be about three weeks though as we are off on holiday, still I have to read up on air law as in about 17 hours I need to fly solo. Captain James was pleased at my progress and certainly so was I.
Drove back down the M5, started work at 11:30. Finally got the assets for something I needed to get on with, so got on with that. Work all the way through to 7. Got a hell of a lot done really. Went out for a run, then came back and did even more work.
So good day all in all. Once again I came back smiling, that’s the important thing. And it was cracking weather, flying just above the haze was amazing. I must stop looking at frighteningly expensive Bose headsets.