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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Mesa, AZ

    Default Solo Cross Country in the Helicopter

    Epic day in the helicopter! My solo cross country. I was not going to do the minimum required, so I mapped out a 280 mi flight from Falcon Field to Williams Gateway, the Florence prisons, the Marana Regional airport, the remote Native American village of Ventana, the Vekol Valley, the Dillon Aero training and engineering range, the Goodyear airport, the MCSO Aviation helipads next to Deer Valley airport, around the Scottsdale airport's airspace, and back to Falcon Field. 4 hours 20 minutes flight time.

    The wind came up shortly after I left Falcon and it was pretty strong when I arrived at Marana (see the blowing flags picture, probably 20 Kt). I was so proud of myself when I landed smooth at the Marana helipads. Then I called for fuel. "Our fuel truck is down, can you use the self-serve?" ... "Can I get close enough with this helicopter?" ... "Yes the hose is 75 feet long." ... Hmm, can I do this? It's either get fuel or go directly home with my tail between my legs. No way...

    Okay! Now I have to hover taxi down a long line of hangars that are upwind of me, so I can expect a fun time. I made it past them, and hung a left... "Do you see the self-serve?" ... "Negative" ... "It's directly behind you a couple of hundred yards." Damn it! Now I have to to a 180 in this wind with the pitiful tailrotor authority of this helo. I tried to do the left pedal turn and it was not going to go around. So I slid to the right to give myself some room, and then slid left with full left pedal, and I'll be damned, it came around and I was able to complete the 180. WOOHOO!! I made it to the self serve.

    After that it was all fun and joy!! I flew out onto the "res" (see the picture of the Vekol Wash from 4500 ft MSL) then to Goodyear for more fuel (!!), stopped for an invited visit with my buds at the MCSO Aviation hangar, then back to Falcon where the wind was (uh oh) 15 gusting to 22. Easy approach and landing directly into the wind. But then I had to make another 120 degree left turn to hover taxi up to the hanger, and again the pitiful tailrotor wouldn't put out the juice I needed. Once again, slide right, then slide left with full left pedal, and BOOP! I was facing and moving down the taxiway. BOOYAH!

    PS: Every stop I made (Marana, Goodyear, and the Sheriff's hangar, the starter would not work. I had to get out and bang on the solenoid!!! (I had been warned by the mechanic) The guys at the Sheriff hangar (including 2 mechanics, a sergeant, and a lieutenant) were laughing when I lifted off. WTH!!
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    -- Bob



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