If there is an area where helicopters are needed the most and excel, mountainous terrain would be it where access from the ground is slow, dangerous, and difficult. For this reason, many pilots will fly helicopters in these environments with rugged terrain at high altitude conditions and sometimes during poor weather. Specialized operating environments need special skills and Elite Helicopter is proud to offer training in the special techniques and methods for flying in the mountains as part of its commercial training and advanced training for commercial pilots.
This course is conducted in the Angeles National Forest and San Bernardino National Forest with elevation as high as 11 503 ft, where students land at sites up to 8000 ft elevation.
This course is very important for students planning for future careers flying helicopters in high density altitude conditions. However, this is also a very beneficial program for any helicopter pilot since the training helps to development judgment, planning, and decision making skills. Furthermore, the subtle flying skills needed to operate close to the operating limitations of the aircraft’s performance can be just as useful when flying at lower altitudes with high loads on a hot day. The training received during this course is considered every day operations for commercial helicopter pilots all over the world!
Elite’s Mountain Course begins with a 2h ground school sessions. Subjects covered includes:
- Aircraft performance and performance charts
- Flight planning for high altitude and mountain conditions
- Navigation in mountainous areas
- Weather factors
- Mountain wind conditions and how they influence flight techniques
The course is then ready to move to the mountains, on the way students start to experience the challenges of operating at full throttle and the limitations which that imposes on the pilot. The instructor demonstrate the effect of the mountains on the local winds, and how they can be used to help rather than hinder the pilot.
First, operations are focused on on-airport operations at high altitude airports of 6751 ft and up with density altitude of up to 10000 ft. Operations focus on traffic patterns, shallow and steep approaches, 180 autorotations and of course, running landing/take off and surface taxi since maintaining a hover can be impossible even in ground effect.
Then student will focus on “off airport” operations. The local mountainous areas provide excellent terrain for pinnacles and confined area approaches to landing. Student will learn how to land and take off with very limited power and how to adapt the approach according to the terrain and the wind so as to make each maneuver as safe as possible. During the winter months students have the opportunity to learn to land on snow while in summer time they have the opportunity to fly in even greater density altitude.
By the time the aircraft arrive home the students have gained a greater degree of confidence in their flying and in their helicopter. Just as important is the respect they have acquired for their limitations and those of the aircraft. Mountain flying is the most spectacular sights you will ever see from a helicopter, the view alone makes the course worthwhile.
The course last one full day, and include 6 hours flight and 2 hours ground for $1800. ($220/h helicopter plus $60/h instructor)
The course is conducted by an experience instructor only as it is an advanced training.
Students are required to have at least a Rotorcraft helicopter pilot certificate, the PIC endorsement (SFAR 73) for Robinson, and not too sensitive to motion sickness.