#19 When Hovering Helicopter Pedals Seems To Be My Continuing Issue

Mar 07, 2019

When Hovering Helicopter Pedals Seems To Be My Continuing Issue

                                Hey it's Kenny with Helicopter Online Ground School. Today we're going to talk real quick about the pedals. I normally do these at home, but I wanted the pedals to actually help demonstrate this, so I waited till I got here to the airport. This is from Clarence, question from Clarence. Very active Helicopter Online Ground School member. He said, "So my question concerns pedal work and what techniques or suggestions you have for working the pedals. Any certain types of shoes, seating and foot position, pedal adjustments and how anti-torque plans into pedal work? When hovering, this seems to be my continuing issue."

                                So I think back about when I was struggling, and I struggled as much as anybody on anything that's ever learned to fly helicopters. So first, before you go fly for the day, climb in and adjust the pedals for you. Now depending on what your aircraft is, they might have different positions, you may not be able to adjust them. We're going to use the Enstrom for this example. These can adjust. So climb in the aircraft, make sure you get a pedal adjustment that's good for you. If they're too far out, you will struggle. If they're too far in, you will struggle. So get in first, during your pre-flight checks, get it nice and comfortable, then finish your preflight because you go out to fly later, you'll get all strapped in, ready to go and then all sudden you go, "Oh man, I didn't adjust the pedals." So that's the first thing. You've got to make sure you're comfortable. Your legs are going to tense up, your legs are going to cramp if you're not comfortable.

                                So he asked about shoes. I can remember back, same guy named Adrian who helped me with a lot of problems I had. And I remember I had big thick black boots on that I liked to wear in the wintertime, and they were catching on the pedals and causing me problems. And he's like, "You know what? Change your shoes, come back with something else." And that did help because I had the big bulky boots on and it interfered or maybe it was a mind thing, I don't know. But it did help with the pedal control. And then I continued to struggle and of course, yes, you need to understand torque, what's going on with the engine, and how everything plays with the pedals. With that being said, the same guy Adrian that helped me with a lot of stuff, I was like, "Well, but what about torque and this and that?" And then finally he said, "You know what? Just do whatever it takes."

                                He goes, "You're overthinking it." And he said, "Look outside, look at that tree, focus on that tree and just do whatever it takes." Now that sounds simple, but it's truly the case. That was probably the biggest thing that helped me was him going, "Just do whatever it takes. Just look outside, quit thinking about it too much because you're overthinking it." That's why through continual practice with your instructor, you're going to get that muscle memory and that is going to help you get over this pedal situation. So shoes can be an issue. Shoes can get caught. You have to be careful. I've had shoestrings get caught in these Enstroms. They have a little clip here. When you're adjusting, your shoestring can get caught. So shoes can be an issue. You want to have something that's comfortable, something that works, something that doesn't get caught in the Enstrom. Actually, a shoe will get caught a lot of times on this down here so that can cause you another issue.

                                So being comfortable, checking them on pre-flight, getting them adjusted. Yes, understand the basics of engine torque in what's going on, which we cover in Helicopter Online Ground School, and Clarence is a member, and I know he's very active in the site just like he's very active each day on these YouTube videos. So this is for you Clarence. So I think you're overthinking it. I know Clarence is progressing through his training, he's probably got the hovering pretty much down and so the pedals is his last big struggle. I remember having that same struggle. I was there and again, the biggest thing was overthinking. Yes, sitting with the examiner check ride, you have to understand engine toward what's going on, up and down with the collective, how the collective and pedals and engine torque and everything interacts with with each other. And that's all great. But it's too much to think about when you're out in the helicopter and you're trying to hover and you're trying to look outside. If you're going, "Okay, engine torque, up, down, this, that," you'll get yourself in a flurry and it's not going to work. So whatever it takes. Look outside, focused on those pedals, do what it takes to keep it straight.

                                Another quick tip in your training. I've seen people, and I've seen this over and over and over again for years. Right pedal is the one people don't want to push. I don't know why, it's a right brain-left brain kind of thing. I don't know, but people don't want to push the right pedal. They'll push the left one. For some reason, they don't want to push the right. Remember this, every time you go to descend, you're going to add right pedal. Now again, we're talking counter-clockwise helicopter. So depending on which helicopter you're flying, it could be left, but most of the American made trainers that we fly, when you go down collective, you're going to add a little bit right pedal. If you remember that every single time because there's points in the pattern when all I'm doing is going more right pedal, more right pedal. Three minutes later, more right pedal. A person gets to that point in their training where everything else is going good and they're still lazy on the pedals and I always call those lazy pedal guy.

                                So make sure you're comfortable. Make sure they're adjusted. It's not monster grip because it's your feet, but you'll find yourself lying around and your legs are all tense and you're fighting those puddles back and forth. You continually have to tell yourself, relax. Relax those leg muscles, relax on those pedals. I do it. If I haven't flown in a while or I jump in a different aircraft, I'll find myself doing it and I go, "Hey dummy, release that pressure." Too much pressure on the pedals is going to make you fight yourself and it can be an issue.

                                So give us your comments down below on struggles you've had with the pedals, maybe tips that have worked for you getting through this struggle. Private pilot ground school. We are updating right now. There's four of us going through the videos, taking member's questions and things have popped up over the last couple of years. Things they've asked about in certain videos. "Can you add this" or "This doesn't make sense." We're going through the whole private pilot section, not rebuilding, updating, upgrading the whole thing. 

                                We're really proud of the pilot private pilot section. At this point we've had huge success. Private pilots only $49 a month. You can keep as long as you like. You can cancel anytime.