Glenn and Lovel made it down to the Tyabb Airshow mid March. They had kids lining up to jump in for a closer look at the Cabri all afternoon, hopefully inspiring some future pilots. All in all it was a great day. Be sure to join us at the next one.
Fanning the flame on Bell's new 429 EDAT helicopter
Recently Bell unveiled their new design for a helicopter tail rotor. The piece is made up of not one but four smaller rotors, incased in the tail boom of the helicopter and electrically driven.
The importance of a tail rotor lies in its ani-torque function. When a helicopter main rotor spins, it creates a force that wants to act against the direction in which the main rotor is spinning; we call this torque. A anti-torque system must be in place to allow a pilot to control their heading in a hover and balance in forward flight.
Most helicopters employ one of three systems; a single tail rotor, either shrouded or exposed; dual blades spinning in opposite directions to counter the torque force; or a NOTAR system which funnels air through the tail shaft to oppose the direction of the main rotor’s spin. Each of these have their positive and negative components. Safety, sound and controllability are amongst considerations in the design process.
Bell has proposed a number of benefits to the piece. The redundancy of four rotors instead of one provides extra peace of mind and safety, the absence of a drive shaft means lowered emissions and reduced costs (less moving parts), and small, shrouded rotors pose less of a threat to crew on ground. It’s an interesting concept.
Tip of the month: Are you remembering to breathe?
Instructors Glenn and Alex say one of the most frequent notes they give to their students is to relax. It’s a natural response everyone has in stressful situations to tense up, but squeezing the controls results in jerky movements which will leave you chasing the helicopter instead of being in control. Though it’s not written into the syllabus, one practical way to check in with yourself is to add a deep breath into your work cycles. Before you start a manoeuvre and periodically throughout the flight, take a slow deep breath and feel into your hands and feet to release some of the tension; a little ‘helicopter meditation’ can go a long way in developing your handling skills.