Started off finishing off a few bits of work from yesterday. Then implemented some line drawing code, which was a bit of an oddity, but it was on my schedule as a bit of a request.
Walked the dogs, had a sandwich. Soon it was time to drive up to Staverton. Made it in good time. Met up with captain James again. He is now at a different company across the car park. Same sorts of helicopters. There’s always a bit of politics in these things and he explained it all to me, he’s made a sensible decision. I paid my money. What it costs for an hour in a chopper you could pass your driving test for and have a few quid for fuel.
Now this time I mentioned the slightly uncomfortable position I had last time reaching the cyclic, even though James is about the same height as me. Anyway, a cushion was found which I put behind me, this made every thing very comfortable (helicopters, well the R22 doesn’t have adjustable seats). I went through the start up procedure and fired up ‘Charlie Delta’ our chopper for the hour. James got clearance and we taxied to the heli-pad. We got flight clearance and then ascended to about a thousand feet. Then the collective was passed to me as well as the pedals. Then I was pretty much left to get on with it. I was just told to follow the M5 and then take the path of the estuary in a big loop and keep it to about 75 knots (86 miles an hour). Certainly this time I was more relaxed, I had a very loose grip on the cyclic and I got the hang of keeping it straight and level. It requires very small inputs, it does almost like to fly itself, with some corrections. Turning was a bit more of a challenge, you have to maintain height and airspeed, which is fun when there is quite a lag on the air speed indicator. I was taught to just keep the compass on the horizon and recognise what speed you are doing just be the nose position. This actually came quite naturally after a while and I was following the river without any problems. We did another power off auto-rotation from about 1,000 feet. I was in charge of the cyclic so had to find a suitable field in which to ditch it. It’s surprising how much time it flies for with no engine, just keep your airspeed up and all is good. We ditched in a field and flared nicely, dead soft landing. I took off and James demonstrated some of the flexibility of the aircraft, including some fun low level flying and buzzing trees as well as landing in an area about the size of my lounge and then doing a pure vertical take-off.
We returned to the airfield and it was off to some waste ground to practice some hovering. I spent about twenty minutes trying to keep it stable, I think the maximum I managed was about 15 seconds. It’s bloody difficult, but was a big improvement on last time. I need to practice more on the simulator. We parked up and had a bit of a chat. I need to get some rather expensive books and things and do some studying, as there are exams to pass.
I drove home buzzing. It was really good, bloody expensive, perhaps somewhat pointless but easily a life changing and fun thing to do.
I returned back to work and did the hours I missed, mainly doing tools testing stuff and fixes for 64 bit. Had a shower and ate salad. Yes I will be drinking tonight, haven’t had anything since Sunday. Torture porn night.
Oh yes, I’m booked in again for two weeks time:)