Riverside Airport (KRAL)
The hardest thing to do in a helicopter is hover - but the scariest thing to do in a helicopter is simulate an engine failure and begin an auto-rotation.
After a brief introduction to Auto-Rotations last week, it was time to stand center stage at a controlled airport, with several aircraft in the pattern and a control tower watching and evaluating as I shot emergency approaches to the beginning on runway 27.
The process of the autorotation is really just basic physics at play, during an engine failure, the main rotor system would continue to spin like a pin-wheel. With no power coming from the engines, there is an immediate sensation of weightlessness as you realize the aircraft has now started a hellacious descent that makes the ground feel like its coming at you quickly. Without engine power, we utilize the falling momentum to generate as much speed out of the rotor system (think holding a pin-wheel out of the window of a car moving at freeway speed) - the descent is held until just before approaching the landing area, at which case a flare is used to force all the energy created by the rotor blades into the ground and act as a cushion to land. WHAT.A.RIDE.!!
EPISODE VII - (KRAL, RIVERSIDE) - SIMULATED EMERGENCY ENGINE FAILURE / AUTOROTATION