Left seat helicopter pic

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Grandpa72
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Left seat helicopter pic

#1 Post by Grandpa72 » Wed Dec 06, 2017 10:38 pm

I’m a new student in Helicopter training.
I’m wanting to get my private license.

One issue I’m having is my left arm is about 9” shorter than my right from a birth defect. I was wondering if it would be possible for me to sit in the left seat and use the cyclic with my left hand( which I have no problem with control of the aircraft) and use my right hand to control the right seat collective?
I’ll be training on a 206
Does anyone know if this would be allowed by transport canada?
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PilotDAR
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Re: Left seat helicopter pic

#2 Post by PilotDAR » Thu Dec 07, 2017 9:45 am

You should expect resistance to such an idea. If you are using the control for the other seat, it'll be very difficult for the instructor in that seat to also use that control as needed. The left and right seat controls in helicopters don't always have the same secondary controls on them. I don't recall the 206, it's been a number of year since I flew one, but other types I have flown more recently do not have secondary controls on the "other" seat collective. It would be quite a reach, and that idea would not be adaptable to some other types. What about a Robinson, where the cyclic can be positioned much more where you might want it to be?
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MOAB
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Re: Left seat helicopter pic

#3 Post by MOAB » Thu Dec 07, 2017 12:42 pm

Provided you could find a training outfit that would let you fly like that, you couldn’t fly solo from the left seat in a 206.

I can’t see an issue with your left arm being shorter though, any of the types I’ve flown your left arm is rarely fully extended, could just be me though.

Best of luck and hopefully you can take a seat in some aircraft and see what works best!
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Re: Left seat helicopter pic

#4 Post by single_swine_herder » Thu Dec 07, 2017 2:29 pm

It's called a "Practical Flight Test" to see if you can control the aircraft properly. These tests used to be done by Transport .... who knows what is up with that now.

The aircraft may need to be temporarily modified in some way, for example an interconnect between one control and another such as steering with hand controls rather than rudder and brakes in a fixed wing ..... in which case, there may be a licence restriction of some form to work within the variance of usual procedures to control the machine ...... I've done Practical Flight Tests on people with no fingers, shorter than average legs, paraplegics, people suffering from partial deafness, etc.

This video will give you an example of how the system can still accommodate people of different physiques.

https://youtu.be/QZp_tVScoSc

Best of wishes in proceeding.
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Grandpa72
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Re: Left seat helicopter pic

#5 Post by Grandpa72 » Thu Dec 07, 2017 3:47 pm

I have done 2 flights from the left seat using the right seat collective the instructors the right seat. The instructor didn’t have any issues in assisting with the collective when he need to add input. It was very comfortable and I could reach all the switches with ease. I have been in the right seat as well I had to bend over quite far to do anything and reaching the switches and breakers was nearly impossible. Mostly looking for advice in whom or departments at Transport Canada to contact before I spend to much money and won’t be allowed to fly anyway.

Flying the 206 in particular because my friend is letting me use it to train and would be the helicopter I would fly after I get licensed (if allowed).
Sure am having a blast right know though. No intentions of be a commercial pilot in my mid 40’s. I guess it’s just a midlife thing.

Thanks for the response
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Re: Left seat helicopter pic

#6 Post by donnybrook » Thu Dec 07, 2017 7:34 pm

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J31
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Re: Left seat helicopter pic

#7 Post by J31 » Fri Dec 08, 2017 7:46 am

So by flying in the left seat you want to use your left hand on the cyclic and your right hand on the collective. That looks workable as the right seat collective is normally used and has all the controls.

The Bell 206 Flight Manual does says the pilot "shall operate the helicopter from the right crew seat". So that would be a problem as solo flight is required training for a private licence. I believe that is for solo flight lateral balance and you may be able to get a waver by using ballast (weights) in the right seat.

As mentioned in earlier posts that Transport Canada (TC) would most likely require a practical test in the Bell 206. I suspect that TC would require a Class 2 or 1 Helicopter instructor to do a practical test.

Where to start: Find a helicopter flight instructor that will work with you and contact TC to see what can be done.
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Re: Left seat helicopter pic

#8 Post by Heliian » Fri Dec 08, 2017 5:50 pm

You'd have to talk to an ftu about it but if you can't use the standard controls then you would have to get a certified installation of control aids. To my knowledge, they don't exist and would be very costly to develop. There is a lot more to it than just being able to move the stick up and down. I don't think the ftu's will be able to help though as the entire training program is built around standard control setup and manipulation. Burt rutan tried to make a one handed does it all stick, didn't work out.
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Re: Left seat helicopter pic

#9 Post by Grandpa72 » Fri Dec 08, 2017 6:15 pm

Thanks everyone for the input, I think I will pursue the check ride option and take it from there I’ll keep you posted
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J31
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Re: Left seat helicopter pic

#10 Post by J31 » Fri Dec 08, 2017 7:37 pm

Heliian wrote:
Fri Dec 08, 2017 5:50 pm
You'd have to talk to an ftu about it but if you can't use the standard controls then you would have to get a certified installation of control aids. To my knowledge, they don't exist and would be very costly to develop. There is a lot more to it than just being able to move the stick up and down. I don't think the ftu's will be able to help though as the entire training program is built around standard control setup and manipulation. Burt rutan tried to make a one handed does it all stick, didn't work out.
I agree if you need to modify controls it gets more difficult AND expensive.

I do not think this poster needs to change any controls as it may work to switch what hand is on what control by changing seats.

As you know most helicopters are flown with the right hand on the cyclic and the left hand on the collective. But because his left arm is short he can not reach switches, radio controls, and work the collective very well. So if he switches seats and uses his short arm/hand (left arm/hand) on the cyclic and his average right arm/hand on the collective. Now he has a full length, average arm/had to reach all the switches and radio controls.

Steve Fonyo flew helicopters with one leg. https://vimeo.com/205970009
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donnybrook
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Re: Left seat helicopter pic

#11 Post by donnybrook » Sat Dec 09, 2017 8:21 am

As a trainer the Schweitzer 300 has a left hand pilot seat configuration, so no accommodation necessary as far as sharing flight controls....
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Re: Left seat helicopter pic

#12 Post by C-GKNT » Sat Dec 09, 2017 3:58 pm

donnybrook wrote:
Sat Dec 09, 2017 8:21 am
As a trainer the Schweitzer 300 has a left hand pilot seat configuration, so no accommodation necessary as far as sharing flight controls....
Aside from the fact that the original poster has access to a 206...

Another issue is that in this configuration the starter button is only on the pilot (left) collective. Albeit a highly unlikely event, I would guess that that Transport Canada would will expect the pilot to be able to attempt an in-air restart.

Once you pass the flight test, you can fly however you want but TC can be pretty picky with ANY modification to an aircraft. 9" isn't that much, in my helicopter, I can reach down probably 1/2 of that below the collective when it is fully down without difficulty. I wonder if the collective could be re-rigged so that it is sits a few inches higher than "normal"...A lower seat cushion may help as well.

Glenn
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Heliian
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Re: Left seat helicopter pic

#13 Post by Heliian » Sun Dec 10, 2017 8:26 am

The instrument panel is biased to the right seat in most 206's, the main fuel valve switch being on the lower right corner. Also I don't think you'd have a good angle to roll the throttle with the right hand. During ungoverned procedures the helicopter throttle is designed to be easily rolled up as collective is increased. In normal operations the governor +/- switch is operated by the left thumb on the collective.

The control rigging is set to a very specific position with very little (realistically no) room for adjustment.

It's not the act of simply flying that is the obstacle, it's the different emergency procedures that I think will be difficult to coordinate from that side.
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