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  • gclevelandcfi

Full down or actual helicopter auto-rotations

The difference between practice and real auto-rotations is the fact that in a real or "full-down" auto-rotation, you will not be bringing the power back in and hovering. It is very important that the flare is done at the right time and the collective up cushion is administered at the right time to prevent damage to the aircraft and/or personal injury. Experiencing a real auto-rotation is the most intense thing I have ever experienced. Likely you will never have to experience it if you fly expensive helicopters that are maintained in top notch condition. I was a struggling private pilot, trying to get my time built up for the commercial rating and had to fly what I could afford. I owned a 1958 Hiller until the transmission failed in flight. Then I purchased an experimental Rotorway helicopter. The Rotorway provided me another four auto-rotations (engine crank shaft, two cog belt breaks, and an ignition system failure). I was able to handle these emergencies with no injury but did damage the Rotorway on two of the auto-rotations. After I became a CFI, I was sought out be Rotorway owners for instruction and have since had two additional auto-rotations in Rotorway helicopters, resulting in no damage. I can say that my experiences have made me the pilot that I am today and I have no regrets. If I had been fortunate enough to own a six figure helicopter for my time building, maybe I would have never experienced a real auto-rotation. If that were the case, my students and I would not really know how I handle real emergencies, now would they :)

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