Friday, August 12, 2011

Helicopters: Nose-in hover

Heli Nose-in Hover

By Lood Bik

Ermelo Radio Flyers

Ahh, the age old subject of the infamous nose-in hover. I know of guys that spend a lot of time and money to get that right, but if you think about it, the principle is pretty easy. In this article I want to give you a couple of pointers to help you along.

For a heli pilot the nose hover is kind of important as it is the most difficult maneuver you will learn after the hover. It also is the last step in being able to control your heli on all four points (tail, left side, right side and nose in). In all fairness, it is not the easiest of moves to master at first, but hang in there.

Firstly, simulator, simulator, simulator. A simulator is a great place to start learning any funny maneuvers on a heli. Not to mention a whole lot cheaper. But we have to be honest and say that flying on a simulator and controlling your chopper out at the field are two different things altogether. I suggest the following to get your heli to nose hover.

Firstly you probably will not start by taking off, swinging the tail 180deg and try to nose hover the chopper. Well, you can, but I don’t advise that course of action. I suggest the following.

Make sure that you are able to hover your chopper on both sides properly. Then start to fly figure of eights and make the heli turn away from you at each turn (left and right). In the beginning have the chopper fly past you so that you fly the chopper while seeing the side. In time, make the circuit look more like an eight. Once again, in time make the chopper fly directly towards you before turning it out towards the outer side of the eight. Now comes the tricky part. Once you can fly a proper figure of eight with the heli flying directly towards you on the section where the flight path crosses, begin to fly the figure of eight slower and slower.

What must be remembered now is that the controls are now reversed. Yes. That is what makes hovering in the nose so difficult. Just remember this little tip. If the heli to the left, your instinct is going to be to move your stick to the right. Fatal. Your chopper is actually banking right, so left input needs to be given. Or easier to remember. If the heli banks left, push the stick under the side that is dipping. Almost like putting a pillar under the rotor to stop it from tilting.

If the heli’s tail starts dipping, move the stick in the same direction of the tail movement, so you will have to push forward. Like putting a pilar under the tail to stop it from dipping. And vice versa.

The tail is easy. Normally when you hover, you reference the nose to determine which direction to push the stick to counter the rotation. During nose in hover, use the tail as reference and the control input will stay the same.

One big thing that people normally forget during the first couple of nose hover attempts is the pitch. Guys, please don’t forget to control the pitch during that moment of intense concentration.

It takes a lot of practice to get it right, but it is not impossible. It just feels like it in the beginning.

Now, if things start to go pear shaped during the hover, don’t panic. Just flip the tail around 180deg and bring your heli in a stable normal hover, you might also want to open the throttle and climb to give you some time to think. It might be a good idea to land your chopper and take a breather before the next attempt. To steady the nerves so to speak. BUT, you must keep trying till you get it right.

Lastly, I would just like to add that it is advisable to try this at a fair height in the beginning(say 10 - 20feet) so that you have time to recover in case things go really pear shaped.

Happy Landings

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