Back in the saddle

Questions and tips for safe and fun flight.

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Back in the saddle

Postby N2285U » Sun Nov 21, 2010 6:01 pm

I posted this on an Enstrom Forum, but since it has to do with the Brantly as well I thought I would post it here.

Had a good demo flight Friday. Spent 6/10ths re-learning how to fly a helicopter. It was a litle bit of a challenging day for someone that has not flown anything but a Brantly with 70 hours TT and has not flown one in 7 years. The wind was 16 gusting to 24 which made it even more challenging.

The start-up was a little different for me. I have never been in a piston aircraft that idles at 1500 RPM. The manual clutch was also different for me. In the Brantly you start the engine, let it idle at 1000 RPM until oil pressure is good and oil temps starts to rise. You then slowly advance the throttle and at 1600-1700 RPM the clutch engages automatically. You then go to 2000 RPM and do your mag check and split the needles. When all the temps are in the green you roll then throttle to 2900 and increase collective. The corelator holds 2900 as you increase collective. During this time the Brantly does not rock at all on the ground.

With the Enstrom you check the mags at 3050 by keeping the collective down and rolling the throttle; however, to hover you roll in 2500 RPM with the throttle and then increase collective to get to 3050 RPM which seems odd to me. I will have to get comfortable pulling collective before the RPM is in the green - just does not seem right to me. The rocking we experienced on the ground was also a little "uncomfortable" for me. Not a big deal, but definitely something to get use to.

The first thing I notcied when the controls were handed to me is how heavy the controls are and how much you have to use trim. In the Brantly you rarely used the trim, but with this machine you need to roll a lot of forward trim in as the airspeed increases.

Autorotations seem pretty easy as demonstrated, but I did not try one. I did get to hover the helicopter and overall it was very stable, especially considering the wind and my experience level. I noticed right away that at our flying weight of roughly 2300 lbs this helicopter needs very little left pedal in the hover. There is plently of reserve available there. Also, it requires a lot more cylclic control input in windy conditions than the Brantly. With the tail rotor authority I had no problem holding the tail into the wind and performing 90 degree pedal turns. I never felt that I was losing tail rotor authority, which is very nice.

My initial impression of the Enstrom F28F is very good. The build quality is very evident. Looking at the rotor head you can tell this thing is built like a tank. The blades weigh 51 lbs each and the rotor head looks like it belongs on a Blackhawk, not a piston helicopter. The dampners also are very massive looking. I love the big baggage compartment as well. What I really like is the 61-in wide cabin along with comfortable seating. You truly can put 3 adults in this machine if needed and with two in it there is more room than in my Baron. Having an engine that will make full rated power to 12k is impressive also. The baggage compartment is also nearly 10 cubic foot which is very important to me. My kids play travel hockey and my son's hackey bag would fit in the compartment without a problem.

The 4 CG envelopes are a little confusing at first. It is nice, though, that you will usually be at 2350 lbs or less which gives you an ample CG range - even with 2 adults and full fuel. The CG range drastically changes as you approach 2600 lbs and it appears that a forward CG would be the problem, especially as fuel is burned off which can move the CG forward 1/2 inch from full tanks to empty. With more than 450 lbs in the cabin it appears that you need to put a little weight in the baggage compartment to stay in a safe CG range. One other thing that was a little shocking to me was the normal operating range of the CHTs. Lycoming claims the green range is up to 500F. In my opinion that is WAY to high of a CHT. In my Baron if I get over 350 I look for ways to cool the cylinders and if I bust 380 I consider it a priority to reduce the temps. At 500F the aluminum cylinders lose roughly 70% of their strenggth which has to be bad.

I will be looking forward to my next lesson.
If your wings aren't turning, they are broken and you had better get them fixed....
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