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New helo trainer at Rucker?

Randy Daytona

Cold War Relic
pilot
Super Moderator
#1
Last edited:

SynixMan

Professional CCX Wrangler
pilot
Contributor
#2
Last I heard CNATRA was toying with replacing the -57C with something new when the -57D avionics upgrade got shelved.

http://archive.defensenews.com/arti...Pitches-407GX-Navy-Trainer-Helicopter-Program

http://www.defensenews.com/article/...land-Pitches-AW119-US-Navy-Helicopter-Trainer

For whatever it's worth, I know there are some purists who think the old school stick and rudder of the -57B is the end all/be all. I'm not one of them. Getting people exposure to a modern airframe with autopilot help and modern avionics is a good idea. My memories of advanced included purposely short CCXs due to the short legs of a -57C with a full bag, 3 dudes, and luggage.
 

IKE

Nerd Whirler
pilot
#3
Anyone know if the Augusta Westland suit is still in play?

For the HT instructors here, what would you say if someone wanted to replace the H-57 with an H-72 given that:
- Practice full autorotations are prohibited,
- The low inertia rotor overspeeds on a sneeze during autos (and the NR gauge is small and difficult to see from the left seat), and
- Above 65 KIAS there is no torque transient, and torque is generally the first limit reached?
 

HokiePilot

Well-Known Member
pilot
Contributor
#4
The Navy is slowly starting to think about developing a next training helicopter sometime in the future. I have asked some questions to leadership, but most of what I got back was "NAVAIR is studying solutions".

For the past 2 NHA fleet fly-ins, the Navy invited companies to bring helos that they are going to propose as new training helos. Bell brought their 407, Augusta Westland brought the AW119Kx, and Airbus brought the EC-135, EC-145 (aka UH-72), and AS350.

I got a chance to fly the EC-145. It was a manufacturer owned version of the UH-72 that they use for training. I walked in to room that Airbus had set up and one of the pilots asked me if I was one of the people to test fly the helicopter. There is only one proper answer to that question. YES!

It is a great flying helicopter, but I just can't see it as a trainer. The autopilot on it is significantly more advanced that Navy fleet helos. I don't know the cost per flight hour, but it has to be significantly more that single engine solutions. I think the Army is using it because the knew they needed a new aircraft that that was the only other one they had.

The Bell 407 was the clear front runner. They were doing full autos (I don't feel like this is a requirement, but it doesn't hurt). It had a G1000 console. The pilots even folded the rotor blades one night. (This is actually a pretty big deal. Our hangars aren't designed to fit palm-treed helicopters. And they can still be trucked back.) They even painted in orange and white.
 

squorch2

he will die without safety brief
pilot
#5
Navair/CNATRA doesn't care about TH-anything. These are the same orgs that took the $80m set aside for 57D and put it into class cockpit upgrades for the T-44.
 

Randy Daytona

Cold War Relic
pilot
Super Moderator
#6
I've flew the 407 for about 6 months - real hotrod. It's basically a 3 day conversion course from the 206 but with a FADEC, bigger C-47 engine and a 4 bladed, rigid rotor system. Boost off is more difficult than you think due to the elastomeric bearings. Have done full down autos in it - not a big deal (not really convinced you need to do them anyway) but any low inertia rotor system is going to spin up/down much faster than a semi-rigid high inertia. Weight is 5,250 max and the helo will hit its VNE of 140 knots without a problem.

Have not flown either the 135/145 or the Koala but both are also extremely popular -all in all, 3 solid options. BTW, the Agusta production pilot who flew it down to Whiting was a former HT instructor.
 

xmid

Registered User
pilot
Contributor
#7
Navair/CNATRA doesn't care about TH-anything. These are the same orgs that took the $80m set aside for 57D and put it into class cockpit upgrades for the T-44.
Within the last couple months CNATRA actual briefed us that the TH replacement was at the top of his list. Whether thats true or not who knows, but it was during a brief to VT guys.
 

Gatordev

Well-Known Member
pilot
Site Admin
Contributor
#8
The Navy is slowly starting to think about developing a next training helicopter sometime in the future. I have asked some questions to leadership, but most of what I got back was "NAVAIR is studying solutions".
Navair/CNATRA doesn't care about TH-anything. These are the same orgs that took the $80m set aside for 57D and put it into class cockpit upgrades for the T-44.
For better or worse, I've been able to sit in some NARG meetings over the last year and the last one I was at, the -57 replacement was mentioned. It's not that CNATRA doesn't care, there's only so much money to go around and it's been pretty bad the last few years. It was also briefed that the longer they postpone initiating the whole acquisition process, the more it will run into another major acquisition that's on the horizon (I honestly can't remember what it was, but it was another NAVAIR airframe), and now they have two competing programs looking for the same money.

As an aside to how bad things are right now, part of the brief showed the various ENARG lists, then TYCOM NARG lists, and then the final Big Navy list. I think it was for '15 that one of the top three was Windows 7 migration, fleet-wide. Win 7 was desperately needed, but it just gives you an idea of what's competing against the various widgets we all want in our aircraft...and what beat out those widgets.
 

busdriver

Active Member
None
#9
I've flew the 407 for about 6 months -rigid rotor system.
How forgiving is it of mast moments when you touchdown? I heard from the grapevine that the UH-72 can be "over torqued" if you let the skids touchdown with less than the max applied to the mast due to the fuselage stopping movement basically instantly. Does that even make sense? Don't know if I'm saying the right.
 

IKE

Nerd Whirler
pilot
#10
^^ confusing

Mast moment (MM) is the bending moment of the main rotor mast. The H-72 doesn't have a flapping hinge; flapping is accomplished via bending of the blades. The result is that the flapping moment is transmitted through the hub to the mast. IMO, the H-72 MM limits, much like Seahawk AOB limits, are driven more by maintenance than by crash, burn, die.

The TPS birds have upgraded software which tells you what direction the moment is (so you can move the cyclic the other direction). Not sure if the trainers will have the simpler quantity-only version.

Exceedances primarily happen during running landings, if the collective is dropped too rapidly on touchdown, or if a -60 guy moves the cyclic back and right for takeoff. Sometime they happen for no apparent reason - including while airborne.

I think MM is an issue for any rigid head, but I would agree that the -72 is likely to generate many inspections if used in a TX environment.
 

Randy Daytona

Cold War Relic
pilot
Super Moderator
#11
How forgiving is it of mast moments when you touchdown? I heard from the grapevine that the UH-72 can be "over torqued" if you let the skids touchdown with less than the max applied to the mast due to the fuselage stopping movement basically instantly. Does that even make sense? Don't know if I'm saying the right.
I can't speak directly to the Lakota as I have never flown it - I'll defer to others here. However if the Army plans on using it as a trainer, than I would assume they have looked at this.

As for the 407, it feels very much like a 206 - seating position, controls, gauges, etc. I did a gazillion autos at Whiting in the 206 and the only difference I noted in the 407 concerning autorotations was controlling NR (407's head spins up and down much faster). As I mentioned early, in addition to much faster and stronger, the things pilots will notice in the training environment are the much heavier boost off controls and also the tail rotor has boosted pedals which makes the 407 twitchier. Good machine - I like it.

Bell also makes an armed scout version - the 407GT - which has a lot of potential. http://www.bellhelicopter.com/en_US/Commercial/Bell407GT/1192830757853.html I am sure Airbus and Agusta will have similar products - its a great time to be a young helicopter pilot.
 

busdriver

Active Member
None
#12
Exceedances primarily happen during running landings, if the collective is dropped too rapidly on touchdown, or if a -60 guy moves the cyclic back and right for takeoff. Sometime they happen for no apparent reason - including while airborne.
This sounds similar to what I remember.
 

ChuckM

Active Member
pilot
#14
With the recent discussion of pulling full autorotation and cutgun training from the Navy's helicopter advanced syllabus alltogether, I seriously hope the ability to perform full autos doesn't become an afterthought in selecting the right trainer.

Call me crazy, but it seems like a multi engined/rigid rotor head and highly advanced intrument/autopilot trainer will just enable CNATRA in the decision to rob rotor-wing aviators of what most of my peer instructors and fleet aviators view as a critical skill set.

I guess I'm in the 407 camp if it means a simple and cost affective trainer that can take a beating and is cheap enough to justify the ocaisional bad day in exchange for highly valuable and potentially life-saving training.
 

Hotdogs

Leeroy Jenkins
pilot
#15
I guess I'm in the 407 camp if it means a simple and cost affective trainer that can take a beating and is cheap enough to justify the ocaisional bad day in exchange for highly valuable and potentially life-saving training.
So you think that doing a full down auto in a 3.5k lbs helicopter is comparable at all to doing one in a +16k lbs helo with completely different rotor systems? Full autos were a good learning tool, but most Marine and Navy aircraft don't even do power-recovery or full autos anymore and typically only in the sim. Even then the power recovery characteristics in the AH-1W were significantly different from the 206, to the extent that the only muscle memory similarities were what gauges I looked at during the maneuver, control inputs, and that was with essentially the same type of rotor system. From short final to the deck though was significantly different. I would argue that the training difference is negligible. The difference between the two was like autorotating a glider verse a meteorite. Bottom line: If I have to auto a Helo, making a nice run-on sliding landing verse spreading the skids or damaging the wheels, and banging a sensor is not my main concern - I just want to walk away at that point.

Given the environments and altitudes we typically work at (120 kias, 300 ft agl, rocky/poor terrain) it probably wouldn't be that big of a deal. Now, actually doing student high speed low level power recovery autos might be worthwhile, IIRC that was only an IP demo while I was at the HTs, but were a graded item in the FRS.
 
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