Francis Meyrick

Moggy’s Tunaboat Helicopter Manual Ch.3-A Landing Video discussions

Posted on July 19, 2009

Moggy’s Tuna Manual Ch.3-A Landing Video discussions

There are some great tuna helicopter videos around, and I’m hoping people will send me many more links and photos, so I can include them here. For the purpose of discussion, a few things:

1) remember that the video often doesn’t tell us the whole story about the direction of the wind, and its strength. We therefore don’t quite know what our friendly pilot was exactly dealing with.

2) in describing the source direction of the ‘Ocean Wind’, we are using the clock code.
Twelve o’clock: the wind is coming from directly ahead of the ship
Six o’clock; the wind is coming from directly behind the ship
Nine o’clock: the wind is coming from the left (port side)
Three o’clock: the wind is coming from the right (starboard side)

3) in describing the direction of the relative air flow (forward speed of ship plus Ocean Wind married together) we use the same clock code.

4) It gets a little complicated, because although the Ocean Wind is pretty much a constant at your time of landing, the Relative Airflow changes all the time. (depending on speed of ship and heading)

5) Again, I don’t want any new tuna pilot to accept everything I say.
Far from it. This is all about you becoming aware of the issues and considerations, and then making up your own mind.
I have been in enough bar room sessions, to know that what is ‘obvious’ to one pilot, is a load of absolute codswallop to the next guy.
So just make up your own mind, and don’t… mind me.


VIDEO 3-A/001 Hughes 500 landing on a calm blue sea with ship moving forward

What I like about this is the way he doesn’t pussyfoot about crossing the deck edge. His DECT is absolutely a minimum. Compare that with video #6. I like this. A nice, smooth, descending approach. I bet he had plenty of power in reserve. Slightly odd little right turn there, nothing serious. High marks.

Video 3-A/002 “R44 aterrizando en barco atunero despues de lance. ”

Nice high approach, keeps right on coming, swinging nice and wide from well off the starboard side (not hugging the ship), no pussyfooting about, coming on down, you sense a low power setting. Knows what he’s doing. High marks.

Video 3-A/003 R-22 “Aterrizaje en un barco atunero “

Complete with TWO sets of Holy Rosaries hanging from the compass. This dude came prepared, and isn’t taking any chances.
In an R-22, power management is even more critical. I like this. He gets on with the approach, you get a sense that it was smooth and in balance. No hesitation. Knows what he’s going for. Minimum DECT.
Maybe I would have swung out wider from the ship a little (not so close) and maybe I’d have come in a tad higher. But high marks.


Video 3-A/031 Hughes 500 landing from PORT SIDE and doing a fast pirouette

Most landings on tuna boats take place from the starboard side, like video #1 and #2 above. My guess would be 90% of all tuna landings.
But coming in from the port side is at times a good way to do it.
Notice the ship is making a set. I don’t know the wind state, but I’m just guessing he came in from the port side because the wind favored that approach. No, he’s not showing off doing that fast little pirouette over the deck. He’s minimizing the HOGE time that he’s got to spend half over and half off the deck. In case of engine failure. Again, the ship is not moving, so the Ocean Wind and the Relative Airflow are one and the same. If the ship WAS moving forward, then an adverse Ocean Wind from three or four o’clock would start being offset by the helpful wind component generated by the forward movement of the ship. Most of us are not too keen about coming in this way when the ship is moving at speed.
It’s usually not necessary either. Note also, although it’s a calm sea, that there is already a slope on the deck. Imagine a heavy catch plus a choppy sea plus a strong crosswind… that’s when you’ll really see some interesting slopes. Beautiful control. Lovely to watch.
Would I fly like that? No, not really. I’ve done the same thing at times, but I’m not really comfortable with such an enthusiastic approach. I’m much more conservative. My instinct is slower, more gentle, more calm. I’d probably still come in from the starboard side, very cautiously, and end up with a ‘skiing down the mountain’ landing. What he is doing looks like a barrel full of fun, and there is ample evidence of great dexterity and skill. But I would worry that I’d be very poorly placed in the event of some kind of failure. That fast approach, rapid turn, ‘half hovering’ over the helideck whilst turning… not quite my cup of tea.
But a lot of guys would disagree with me!

Video 3-A/032 Hughes 500 landing with a bunch of Koreans milling about on the helideck

I guess they were making some final adjustment. I like this video because it does obviously show a prolonged HOGE due to the helideck being obstructed. He’s well in the ‘avoid area’. He knew it, he was just trying to get them to move. Note the abrupt left (power) pedal input. On that day, it looked real nice weather, and it did no harm. However, if the ship was doing 16 knots into a 20 knot wind, the unthinking application of left pedal (combined with a slow, HOGE approach) can abruptly get you into a world of hurt. We talk about this at length in Ch.3-B. Even just carrying too much left pedal as you slow down and enter HOGE in those circumstances can cause your tail to suddenly kick left. If you were just crossing the edge of a small deck, with a load of aerials and steel tubing waiting for you… (ouch)


Video 3-A/071 “Hughes 500 landing on a tuna boat outside of Guam ” (guamwalker)
Check out the HOGE, high power setting, low approach, close in to ship, protracted DECT, and the borderline brutal left pedal ‘kick’ on the dogleg; a risky habit indeed, which, if unchecked, can get a pilot into big trouble.

Video 3-A/072


Same pilot as in 3-A/007 I’m thinking. Now you get to see that brutal left pedal kick from inside the cockpit. Classic example of everything what-not-to-do. If he worked for me, we would be having a serious talk.

Any more videos, anybody?

Francis Meyrick

Last edited by Francis Meyrick on September 21, 2009, 9:29 pm

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4 responses to “Moggy’s Tunaboat Helicopter Manual Ch.3-A Landing Video discussions”

  1. Everything…

    it would be interesting to see how somebody felt about tuna flying AFTER having read the manual first. Was it helpful? Accurate? True?

    Did the techniques and tips work?

    I’d welcome any and all input. Go for it.


  2. Moggy,

    You mention about trying not pull alot of
    power which is always a good practice and ne I adhere to.
    I know this is  advisable for the obvious reasons.

    Are C 18’s very wea or is to do with the fact you normally hav a lot of left pedal in.



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