November 2023 News

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A big congratulations to Sayed Taleb and Joffrey Lassignardie (aka Lassi aka Mango Lassi) on flying their first solo circuits. What a massive milestone that each of you have worked hard to achieve. Well done leaving that pesky instructor behind and taking to the skies with just yourselves for company. Seems like there’s also a new way to celebrate! 🤙🤙🤙

Student's first Solo at Moorabbin Airport with Melbourne Heli
Student's First Solo with Melbourne Heli

Left: Lassi on the numbers at Moorabbin airport after first solo lap.

Right: Sayed Taleb all smiles post solo on a sunny day at Bacchus Marsh.

Farewell to Rob

Some of you may have noticed the lack of a certain Irish lilt in the corridors. Rob Murphy has left us to move on to other flying. We’d like to thank him for the training he’s provided whilst at Melbourne Heli, and wish him all the best in his future career.

Avoiding Blade Strikes

Blade strikes are a common and often extremely expensive incident. While it seems like an easy thing to avoid, there are several factors that work against the pilot when judging the radius of your blades from the cockpit.

The first factor is ground markings. Taxiway centrelines, fuel bowser markings, helipads and the like can be found at almost all medium to large sized airports. Very often, these lines or markings are drawn for airplanes and their use for helicopters is limited. Being good pilots, we like to play by the rules and it can be easy to give said markings more respect than they deserve. In many blade strike incidents, the pilot will be focussing on their position relative to a marking and completely forget to survey their surroundings for obstacles. Blade strikes easily happen to pilots who have committed themselves to landing in the middle of the ‘H’, or using a painted line to guide a taxi or parking sequence but who have forgotten about the fuel bowser roof or an adjacent helicopter or aircraft.

Secondly, the radius of your helicopter’s rotor disk appears much smaller from the cockpit than the actual radius. This illusion is comprehensively described in the following video below.

To give yourself the best chance of avoiding a main rotor blade strike consider taking on board the following practices:

  1. Always be aware of the smaller rotor disk illusion and give yourself a least twice your observed radius to manoeuvre, transition or taxi.
  2. Survey the surroundings of your landing or take off site before arrival or departure and position yourself to avoid/limit backward or sideways movement.
  3. Ask a qualified person to provide separation advice over the radio or with hand signals if you are forced to operate in a tight area.
  4. As part of a pre-flight or daily check, mentally note the size of the rotor disk before starting your engine.
Helicopter parked in an abandoned quarry