Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Helicopters are always trying to crash

Several friends have mentioned that they are reading this blog. Thanks, it really means a lot. With school six hours a day, plus commute, plus studying, I don't have a lot of free time, and I spend much of it writing, rewriting, and finding images for posts. It's the best way I have of sharing this experience with everyone. That means you.

Progress: Today I moved the helicopter around the airport with little assistance from my instructor. He still takes hold when I have an accidental spasm towards the fuel trucks or a multi-million dollar private jet.

I operate all of the controls during regular flight, except when Lee is demonstrating a maneuver. Don't confuse that with being completely in control.

A helicopter is an unstable system that requires constant effort to inhibit its natural tendency towards chaos. Or, as instructors explain it: A helicopter is always trying to crash, and the pilot's job is to keep it from doing so.

What that means for me from second to second is that things are constantly going wrong, and I'm constantly trying to fix them, like a cartoon character sticking finger after finger into a dyke that keeps springing leaks.

As soon as I stop the unintended climb, I've got to correct a loss of airspeed. I'm no sooner done with that then the engine's manifold pressure is too low. Ok, manifold pressure looks good, but we're out of trim, skidding sideways through the air. Fixed that, but now we're losing altitude and I'm late informing the tower of our position. And on and on. I don't have time to look out my door anymore, I'm way too busy!

Lee took the controls for a minute so I could shoot some video for you. In order of appearance: New subdivision on raw lava (right turn, looking straight down), nice blue coastline, Four Seasons Resort and golf course, relatively recent lava flows (1800's?), and (in the distance) Mauna Loa volcano, shrouded in her own fumes.

Sorry about the wind blast, but as I've said, there's nothing next to me but sky. By the way, if there is anything you're curious about, send an email or leave me a comment, and I'll try to explain or shoot some footage.

1 comment:

Dr. C said...

How about some video/pics of you in there so we don't think you're ghost-writing this next to some bikini-clad acquaintance at a resort? = >