Francis Meyrick

Moggy’s Tunaboat Helicopter Manual Ch.3-I “Reducing Speed Quickly – Scrubbing “

Posted on March 13, 2010

Moggy’s Tunaboat Helicopter Manual

Ch.3-I Reducing Speed Quickly during Herding: “Scrubbing “

I’ve mentioned the tail rotor and the imperative need for ‘tail rotor awareness’ many times now, and especially in connection with hovering and during ‘herding’. I don’t think it’s possible to over-emphasize the importance of guarding against a tail rotor strike. Remember those rogue waves that come through now and again. Add in the pressure and the excitement of herding. The captain maybe yelling over the radio. A wind really blowing you around the place…

You move towards a break-away group of fish heading for the towline… Suddenly, you realize you are overshooting the leader… you go to slow down quickly… there is a strange ‘kick’, a momentary vibration… and your head hits the door frame really hard… suddenly water is pouring into the cockpit… it feels strangely cold against your face… you yell, and struggle to get out… but something is holding you back…. your brain is reeling in shock…

Don’t you wish you never experience that! You and me both, I can tell you! It’s just sooooo…. deceptively easy to ease back on the cyclic and dip that tail rotor when you’re trying to slow down in a hurry over a rough sea. Remember, you’re herding. So you’re low. You may be in a limited power machine. So you’re low…
Remember also that, in recent years, accidents during herding operations have resulted in some really nasty injuries. There were no less than three cases that I have heard of, that involved the pilots ending up with broken backs. That is an awful injury for anybody, and potentially a life long source of pain and paralysis.
The warning I give you here, is serious, guys. Serious as a heart attack. Or a broken back. Think about it…

My check ride, as described elsewhere, only lasted barely an hour. Flight and oral. But one the things that ‘Dougal Fishhead’ pointed out to me, I have religiously applied ever since. I like it, it makes sense to me, and I use it a lot. It also reminds me constantly of the tail rotor. I’m talking about what I call “scrubbing “.
“Scrubbing “is a manoeuvre designed to ‘scrub excess speed off’ quickly and safely. All it means is that you kick the tail out sideways ninety degrees whilst continuing to travel in a straight line in the same direction. The ship stays level. The tail will not dip. Your speed will wash off quickly indeed. If anything, you ease in just a fraction of forward cyclic!
You can turn ninety degrees, or a little less, to the left or right. If you turn right, you have (sitting on the left) a nice view of where you’re going. But if the wind is coming from the left, it may be more pleasant to kick ninety degrees left. Now you’re face into wind.

I had a criticism leveled against “scrubbing “.
One “Tuna head ” said he thought it was wrong, and he never used it. He was concerned about an engine failure whilst moving sideways. And he didn’t like having “the controls all crossed up “.
He has a a point. But the risk of an engine failure, or any other failure, at precisely that moment, is very small indeed compared with the ever present risk of dipping your tail rotor in the briney, and earning your ‘submarine Tuna head certificate “. Available free from me.
However. Different points of view, different styles.You decide what’s best for you! I offer you the jukebox, you can pick the track.

If… you are coming off a Hughes 500, or some other ‘shortie machine’, and going onto a Bell 47, or maybe an R-44, it might be fruitful to reflect on the fact that your tail is now a whole lot longer! That means it’s easier to dip that tail rotor…

Fixed wing pilots, especially those with a lot of tail dragger time… beware that little ‘ease back’ on the cyclic! Speaking as a dual rated CFI… I’ve seen it so many times!!!

There is a story bouncing around my head, I need to go and write about a pilot I sincerely tried to check out as a tuna helicopter pilot. It features that little ‘ease back’ on the cyclic… many, many times. He couldn’t break himself of the habit…

Consider ‘scrubbing’ as an alternative to hauling back on the cyclic. Or your “Submarine Tuna Head certificate ” awaits you…

Francis Meyrick

Last edited by Francis Meyrick on April 13, 2010, 8:16 pm

0 votes, average: 0.00 out of 50 votes, average: 0.00 out of 50 votes, average: 0.00 out of 50 votes, average: 0.00 out of 50 votes, average: 0.00 out of 5 (0 votes, average: 0.00 out of 5)
You need to be a registered member to rate this.

Leave a Reply