The most important thing that I learned about at Heli-Expo wasn’t on the show floor and I decided that it merited its own posting. I attended a two-hour seminar on autorotations. It seems that the stress on lowering the collective in the event of an engine failure is misplaced and that this emphasis starts in the FAA’s Rotorcraft Flying Handbook, i.e., the Bible as far as Private helicopter students are concerned.
Flying a helicopter may well be the most dangerous job in the U.S. (TIME magazine puts “pilots” in at third most dangerous but they are lumping in scheduled airline pilots, whose jobs are not hazardous at all, with helicopter pilots and Alaskan bush pilots) A real-world emergency in which an autorotation becomes necessary is not common but being prepared may mean the difference between life and death.
I decided to write an article on how to teach autorotations, incorporating the best ideas from the seminar.