February 2021 News

Home News February 2021 News

Life’s starting to pick up some pace again. In this month’s newsletter, we’re excited to announce some recent wins and positive initiatives being implemented at Melbourne Heli. And if fear of carb icing is something that gives you the chills, Guru Glenn shares his wisdom on the subject.

Student Congratulations!

January has been an epic month. We are thrilled to welcome these fantastic five to the pilot club. Well done boys, we are immensely proud of your achievement and so should you be.

Josh Nijam – PPL
Tim Sessions – PPL
Dan Curtis – CPL
Jason O’Doherty – CPL
Jason Tang – CPL

(Pictured L to R: Josh, Tim, Flight Examiner Nick McManus with Jason T, Dan, Jason)

Jetranger endorsements - Limited time only

The Bell 206 is doing a short stint here at Hangar 7. So jump on board VH-FOP if you’ve been eyeing that gas turbine rating or want to take it for a spin just because you can.

(Photo Credit: Ashley Muir)


We’ve introduced a couple of changes around the place to make it more fun and interactive for everyone.

  • Book Swap – We’ve set up a miniature book swap in the Student Lounge so people can bring in any books that they no longer read and swap them around for some new ones. The books don’t need to be aviation related.

  • Notice Board – We’ve put up a notice board in the kitchen area to enable information-sharing, exchanging ideas, celebrating wins, putting up some cool pictures etc. We look forward to hear your thoughts and ideas, so let your creative juices flow.

(Pictured: Alex T, Lovel)

CPL Theory Courses


Chris is on track to wrap up an intensive two week PPL Theory course for our students Brett McGrane, John Cox and Lulu Young. (Pictured: L to R)

Our first CPL Theory Course is set to kick off in mid-March, starting with Performance and Limitations . It will be an intensive 3 day course taught by Chris Wakefield – Chief Pilot. The class capacity is limited to 4 students. Course cost is A$700 per person. To enrol, please give us a call or drop us a line.

Carburettor Heat and Carburettor Icing

Carb Heat – When should I use it ?
An often misunderstood topic amongst pilots both amateur and experienced, there’s really no end to how much one can talk about when it to comes to carb heat. However, in this edition I’ll try to keep it brief, and follow-up with more detailed information in our subsequent newsletter.

Not all piston engine helicopters use carb heat, it’s only found on those that use a carburettor to meter fuel flow into the engine. Fuel injected engines, such as those in the R44 Raven II, and Hughes 300CBi (as the name implies) inject fuel directly into the cylinders and therefore, are not susceptible to carburettor icing.

Carb Ice: How do I avoid it?
Carburettor icing or carb icing is an icing condition that can affect any carburettor, but is especially relevant when operating an engine that uses a carburettor to meter fuel into the engine.


Carb ice forms when there is a temperature drop in the carburettor resulting from fuel-vaporisation in preparation for fuel burn by the engine. The temperature drop associated with the pressure drop in the venturi reduces temperature inside the carburettor. If the temperature drops below freezing point and water vapour is present, it will freeze onto the throttle valve and other internal surfaces of the carburettor. This is less than ideal as it can lead to a reduction in power and eventually an engine failure. Carburettor heat is applied as a preventative measure to stop the formation of ice inside the carburettor and hopefully (if we use it correctly) keep the engine functioning and us flying.


Some helicopters have the old-school manually operated carb heat lever, some have carb heat assist and the more modern piston engine helicopters tend to have automatic carb heat. They all have one thing in common and of significant importance to us as pilots – a carburettor temperature gauge, and it’s our job to keep that needle out of the yellow range.

The method of applying carb heat in the Robinson 22 (R22) has evolved over time, with the Beta (and earlier) models having a manual carb heat, and the Beta 2 models having what we call “carb heat assist”, to help the pilot manage the temperature inside the carburettor. When you raise the collective, the carb heat lever moves in (reducing the amount of carb heat applied), and when you lower the collective the carb heat slider moves up (increasing the amount of carb heat applied). As the name implies, it will assist you with the application of carb heat, however, IT IS NOT AUTOMATIC. You still have to look at the gauge and confirm that the needle is out of the yellow, and if required, manually add/reduce the amount of carb heat.

The R44 Astra, Raven 1 (Clipper 1) and Cadet are all carburettor versions of the Robinson 44, and use the “carb heat assist” to help the pilot manage the temperature in the carburettor. In the Cabri G2, aside from normal pre-flight checks, the carb heat (in normal operation) is truly automatic in its operation.

We’ll talk more in-depth about what this all means in next month’s edition; about how it actually works and some typical questions that arise about the use of carb heat. In the meantime, if you fly the R44 (or R22) please take the opportunity to have a read of Robinson Helicopters Safety Notice SN25 which talks about the use of carb heat in Robinson helicopters.

Should you have any questions about how it works, or how you as the pilot should be using it, please drop us a line, give us a call or have a chat with one of the instructors the next time you’re in. We’ll be happy to take any questions.

– Glenn Davidson

More power to girls!

HeliOps magazine in their recent issue have published an article on ‘Women in the helicopter industry’ that features an interview with the awesome Wing Chan. It offers a great read about Wing’s dreams and aspirations, her exciting journey to becoming a helicopter pilot and how she effectively juggles two very diverse careers. So if you’re looking for some inspiration, click  below or hit up Issue #129 (pages 36-42) of the magazine.

(Pictured L to R: Ed, Wing, Gray; Photo Credits: Ed Taylor, Tim Collins)

Instructor's tip of the month

When re-installing dual controls in the Robinson 44’s ensure that you put the collective all the way in. Make sure that it clicks in and test it by raising and lowering the collective as well as by opening and closing the throttle. The cyclic pin must be secured properly and the pedals should click in. It’s important that all controls are correctly installed and secured.