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PPL(H) Flight Exercises

The Private Pilot Licence (Helicopters) flying exercises are the practical element of the PPL(H) course. They include elements of the theoretical knowledge the student will be self studying and consist of a ground brief / lesson and then the flight exercise, followed by a de-brief.

Some exercises can be completed quickly, some require more than one flight and one or two a student may be "stuck" on and might need to be re-visited later in the PPL(H) course.

Below are a list of the exercises and a brief synopsis of their contents.

  • Exercise 1: Helicopter Familiarisation & Emergency Procedures +

    Split into two parts, the first looks at the characteristics of the helicopter exterior, introduces the student to the cockpit environment, the helicopter systems & controls, plus looking at how to use checklists and procedures. The second element of the exercise covers the procedures in the event of an emergency in flight and on the ground. Actions in the event of specific helicopter systems failing are discussed and the location of emergency equipment is shown.

  • Exercise 2: Preparation for flight and post flight actions +

    A look at the pre-flight paperwork, required documentation and procedures to be completed before and after flight. An introduction to the pre-flight helicopter inspection and the importance of using a checklist. A discussion of the start-up and shut-down procedures.

  • Exercise 3: The Air Experience +

    Often this is the actual first lesson on the course as it is often used as a way of ensuring a student will enjoy flying helicopters. The exercise familiarises the student with the primary controls and instruments in the helicopter, their purpose and use. A flight of 30 minutes or so allows the student to experience helicopter flight as well as allowing them time to take control of one or more of the helicopter's primary controls.

  • Exercise 4: Effects of Controls +

    Expanding on each of the helicopter's main controls (cyclic, collective, pedals and throttle) the student experiences the primary effect of each control and also any secondary effects. The helicopter's flight instruments are discussed in greater detail. The risks of carburettor icing are discussed as well as the actions required to avoid the situation.

  • Exercise 5: Power and Attitude Changes +

    The student learns the relationship between the position of the cyclic, the disc plane and helicopter's attitude with reference to airspeed. The dynamics of flapback are examined as are the limits on engine and helicopter speed. During the flight power and speed changes are made during level flight to demostrate the theory of the power required diagram. Rather than using an individual control at a time controls are paired to achieve a more balanced flight.

  • Exercise 6: Straight and Level Flight +

    The student is taught the techniques used to keep the helicopter in straight and level flight at cruise power as well as a variety of other speed and power combinations. The concept of attitude + power equalling performance is introduced.

  • Exercise 7: Climbing +

    Generally flown along with Exercise 8 (Descending) the student learns the optimum climb speed and best angle of climb with reference to the power required diagram. The Attitude, Power Trim (APT) technique for initiating a climb, maintining the climb and levelling off are practised and then improved with reference to instruments.

  • Exercise 8: Descending +

    Generally flown along with Exercise 7 (Climbing) the student learns the best angle or rate of descent with reference to the power required diagram. The Power, Attitude, Trim (PAT) technique for initiating a descent, maintining the descent and levelling off are practised and then improved with reference to instruments.

  • Exercise 9: Turning +

    This exercise introduces the turning technique with turns of 20° angle of bank. The visual scan during the turn is explained and turns are made to visual references and then to Directional Indicator headings as precision increases. As the student progresses climbing and descending the helicopter whilst turning is introduced.

  • Exercise 10: Basic Autorotation +

    In the unlikely event that the helicopter should lose power during flight, the machine can be put into autorotation to maintain rotor RPM before executing a forced landing. In this exercise the sudent is introduced to the principles and theory of the autorotation as well as the parameters to be used in type of helicopter being flown.

    In the exercise a series of datum auto are flown to a power recovery. The student needs to enter the autorotation swiftly whilst balancing the yaw and controlling pitch. This builds on the co-ordination skill developed in previous exercises. Similarly the power recovery should be done swiftly whilst balancing the helicopter.

  • Exercise 11: Hovering, Hover Taxy, Spot Turns and Related Emergencies +

  • Extercise 12: Take-off and Landing +

  • Exercise 13: Transitions from and back to the hover +

  • Exercise 14: The Circuit, Approaches, Steep Approaches, Limited Power and Emergencies +

  • Exercise 15: First Solo +

  • Exercise 16: Sideways and Backwards Hovering +

  • Exercise 17: Spot Turns +

  • Exercise 18: Hover Out of Ground Effect and Vortex Ring +

  • Exercise 19: Simulated Engine Off Landing +

  • Exercise 20: Advanced Autorotation +

  • Exercise 21: Practice Forced Landings +

  • Exercise 22: Steep Turns +

  • Exercise 23: Transitions +

  • Exercise 24: Quick Stops +

  • Exercise 25: Navigation +

  • Exercise 26: Advanced Take-off, Landings & Transitions +

  • Exercise 27: Sloping Ground +

  • Exercise 28: Limited Power +

  • Exercise 29: Confined Areas +

  • Exercise 30: Basic Instrument Flight +

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That's all the flight exercises. With these complete, your theoretical exams passed and your cross country qualifier successful flown it's time to take a mock exam flight and then the real thing!

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