SFAR 73 Awareness Training Introduction

Sep 17, 2018

     Hi, I'm Sarah Green with Helicopter Online Ground School. Today we're talking about the SFAR 73. You can find the SFAR 73 on page 33 of your FAR AIM manual. It's broken down into three sections; Applicability, Awareness Training, and Expiration. Who does this apply to? This applies to anyone that seeks to manipulate the controls of a Robinson 22, a Robinson 44 helicopter.

SFAR 73 Awareness Training Introduction

     This is basically the very first lesson you're ever going to give anybody. A couple of different ways that you can do this. I'm going to break down the awareness training and teach it as if you were a brand new pilot or student. Then I'll also go ahead and teach it as if you were already a CFI and you just are either taking a refresher course or you're trying to get a good awareness of it yourself.  Then there's Expiration, the SFAR 73 does not expire.

 SFAR 73 Awareness Training Introduction

       We've got low G hazards, mass bumping, low RPM decay leading to blade stall, and energy management. There's two different ways that you're going to be explaining this. As if you were a brand new person to helicopters or a student pilot, never flown before. Then if you are a CFI just kind of refreshing yourself of it you just need a better understanding yourself when you're flying around with your students you know what to look for.

      Low G hazards, what is that? Low G hazard is a condition of weightlessness. It is in a hazardous condition that can lead to mass bumping. Mass bumping is simply when the blade contacts the mass of the helicopter or even the tail cone chopping it off. How does this happen? This happens when you push forward on the cyclic and you throw the center of gravity off in the helicopter. You will feel yourself come up out of your seat. You'll no longer feel like you're sitting down. What can happen is the helicopter will start to roll in the direction of tail rotor thrust or to the right.  It'll roll in that direction and then the pilot instinctively is going to want to correct for the roll which then leads into mass bumping.

    What you want to remember is a new student or someone that's never flown before is no pushovers. Don't push the helicopter over with the cyclic. There's actually a really good safety notice in the POH if you want to go read that. As a CFI what you have to know is it's really easy to get into a low G hazardous condition. Say you're flying around with your student and all of a sudden a bird flies in front of you. Well, you're going to push the helicopter forward and you're going to nose over and you'll feel yourself come up out of your seat.

SFAR 73 Awareness Training Introduction

     What's really dangerous about this is you're going to roll as fast as your tail is above the mass of the helicopter. The higher your tail is the faster your roll rate is. You instinctively have to train yourself not to correct for that roll first. Key words here are gentle aft cyclic. Gentle aft cyclic, reload the rotor, and then correct for that roll. The next one we have is low RPM decay leading to blade stall. If you have a brand new student this is what you need to know. Low RPM is really, really dangerous and it can happen really easy also. You always want to establish your RPM in the green unless you're doing some sort of training. You should always be flying around with your RPM in the green.

    You don't want to do things abruptly because if you roll the throttle off or you snap the throttle you can easily get into blade stall which is unrecoverable. If you're in a high gross rate, high density altitude situation and you yank up on the collective you're only causing the RPM to sink more. What you want to remember is always keep that RPM in the green, always have that governor on when you're flying, and no abrupt controls at all. As a CFI I actually have a really good story for you. When I was a student I was in Stage III of my training going for my private pilot. I kind of already knew what I was doing. I'm about to go for my check ride.

    I'm sitting there and I must have done, I don't know, maybe 10 hover autos and I just couldn't get it and I was so frustrated. It was literally the last thing that I needed to nail before my check ride. The last one that we did that day, I go to do the maneuver and I'm not even thinking about it and I grip the throttle. I death gripped the throttle and I tried to roll it the wrong way. What happened was my instructor basically had to over ride me and had to wrestle me to not roll that throttle the wrong way. I had never done that before but I was so frustrated I wasn't even thinking about it and I did that.

           SFAR 73 Awareness Training Introduction                                    

     Can't really ever trust your student too much, you want to always be guarding the collective. Another thing, I'm new to motorcycles. You want to be careful because if your student rides motorcycles the throttle is the opposite way. If they get in a situation where they're panicked or anxiety or doing an autorotation they're going to be thinking about rolling it the other way. Kind of keep that in mind. The other thing too if you're a CFI is there is a difference between blade stall and retreating blade stall.

      Blade stall can happen at any air speed and at any altitude. Retreating blade stall we know just happens from higher air speeds. Another interesting thing is I just got done with the safety course over at Robinson. One thing they told us is one of the leading causes of fatalities is instructors failing to take over the controls during a bad autorotation in time. You don't want to wait until your student lets RPM drop so much that you're really struggling to take over the controls and restore that.

      Then the last thing I want to talk about is energy management. You have three different forms of stored energy in a helicopter; air speed, altitude, and RPM. These are your lifelines. When you're flying around you always want to keep this in mind. That's why we always try and maintain 500 feet, that's why you want to make sure that your air speed is in a safe operating range too. Your RPM should always be in the green. If you have to do an emergency procedure you want to make sure that you're going to be able to get down safely and perform that. There's also another safety notice that says that the Robinson 22, Robinson 44, as long as you fly that thing all the way to the ground it has a really high survivability where most people just get up and walk away from the helicopter.

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SFAR 73 Awareness Training Introduction