ACP Bulletin No. 01/16
Steep Turns during Helicopter PPCs
The purpose of this bulletin is to clarify guidance detailed in the ACP Manual, TP 6533 (Ninth Edition) on the requirement for steep turns during helicopter PPCs. It is also to revise guidance detailed in the Pilot Proficiency Check and Aircraft Type Rating, Flight Test Guide (Helicopters), TP 14728 (First Edition) regarding steep turns.
- CAR Standards 722, 723 and 724 Schedule - Pilot Proficiency Check – Helicopters
- Pilot Proficiency Check and Aircraft Type Rating, Flight Test Guide (Helicopters), TP 14728 (First Edition)
- Approved Check Pilot Manual, TP 6533 (Ninth Edition)
Steep Turns are used by helicopter pilots to avoid obstacles (e.g.,towers, power lines and birds) and other aircraft traffic. They are also employed to observe precise location on the ground. As this manoeuvre is commenced, airspeed is often simultaneously reduced to achieve a smaller turning radius.
Steep turns in helicopters often occur at very low altitude where a number of obstacles may be present. Under these conditions, pilot must maintain awareness of the obstacle, while scanning instrumentation to ensure that no limitations or parameters are exceeded. In addition, when low ceiling conditions existed, pilots must insure they don’t inadvertently enter in Instrument meteorological conditions (IMC).
Helicopters operated to and from airports or heliports are usually never flown at very low altitude. They are also often operated under Instrument Flight Rules (IFR), where the requirement for steep turns greater than 30 degrees is not present. For this reason an operator’s Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) may restrict the angle of bank to a maximum of 30 degrees.
Clarification to the ACP Manual, TP 6533 (Ninth Edition)
Chapter 6 of the ACP Manual (ninth edition) discusses scripted PPC requirements. Section 6.3.11 of the ACP Manual states that the requirement for steep turns during a PPC is withdrawn provided there is compliance with certain “stipulated conditions.” This statement has, on occasion, been misinterpreted to imply that steep turns are not required during a helicopter PPC.
The flight test exercises to be completed during a PPC are detailed in the appropriate CAR Standards 722, 723 and 724 Schedule - Pilot Proficiency Check – Helicopters. While there are allowances for aeroplanes operating under certain CARs subparts to waive the requirement of steep turns, this waiver is not available to helicopter PPCs.
Updated Guidance to the Pilot Proficiency Check and Aircraft Type Rating, Flight Test Guide (Helicopters), (First Edition), TP 14728
The following guidance will be introduced in the second edition of the Pilot Proficiency Check and Aircraft Type Rating, Flight Test Guide (Helicopter).
Flight Test Exercise Item 11 - Steep Turns
To safely perform steep turns, in accordance with the regulations and the helicopter operating limitations
Within a safe area that is clear of other aircraft traffic and at an operationally safe altitude recommended by the manufacturer, training syllabus, or other training directive, the candidate will execute two steep turns.
Both steep turns will achieve a heading change of at least of 180 degrees but not more than 360 degrees. One of the steep turns will be conducted to the right and the other one to left. Both steep turns will be completed from a specified heading or an outside point of reference, at an operationally safe altitude specified by the ACP.
The turn itself should be accomplished primarily through the use of visual references. The candidate is expected to maintain a good look-out for other traffic or obstacles during the turn and ensure that none present a safely of flight hazard. Instrument scan for the purpose of ensuring desired flight parameters are maintained should only account for approximately 10 percent of the time.
Steep Turn Not Restricted to an Angle of Bank of 30 Degrees
The candidate is expected to establish and maintain an angle of bank between 30 and 45 degrees. The angle of bank may be determined using an attitude indicator or the helicopter airframe angle with the horizon.
During these turns, a constant altitude will be maintained within ±150 feet and a constant airspeed maintained within ±10 knots (or MPH). The constant airspeed to maintain will be appropriate to the helicopter type and determinate by the ACP. This airspeed must be between the best rate of climb airspeed (Vbroc) and maximum speed of 80 knots (or MPH). For a helicopter with a slow cruise airspeed, the specified speed will be closer to Vbroc in comparison to helicopters with a faster cruise airspeed.
Steep Turn Restricted to an Angle of Bank of 30 Degrees
When an operator’s SOP restricts the angle of bank to maximum of 30 degrees, the candidate must establish and maintain an angle of bank of 30 degrees ±5 degrees. The angle of bank will be determined using the attitude indicator.
During these turns, a constant speed of 100 knots (or MPH) will be maintained within ±10 knots (or MPH). A constant altitude will be maintained within ±100 feet. The altitude to maintain will be specified by the ACP prior to the commencement of the steep turns.
Assessment will be based on the candidate’s competency to:
- maintain an effective lookout for other traffic during the turn
- use outside visual references primarily during the turn;
- enter a smooth and coordinated steep turn;
- initiate a timely roll-out on an outside point of reference or a specified heading determined in advance; and
- maintain selected airspeed within ±10 knots (or MPH).
Steep Turns Not Restricted to an Angle of Bank of 30 Degrees
- maintain the specified altitude within ±150 feet throughout the turn; and
- maintain a bank angle of between 30 and 45 degrees.
Steep Turns Restricted to an Angle of Bank of 30 Degrees
- maintain the specified altitude within ±100 feet throughout the turn; and
- maintain a bank angle of 30 degrees ±5 degrees.
Updated Guidance to ACP Manual, TP 6533 (Ninth Edition) APPENDIX C – SAFE FLIGHT CHECKING PRACTICES GUIDE
Steep Turns – Helicopter
The pilot-in-command will be choosing a safe area clear of other traffic to conduct the steep turns. If the item is conducted at low level the pilot-in-command has to make certain that no obstacles present a hazard to flight safety.
In all cases, ACP has the duty of care to make sure that a safe area has been chosen. An area chosen to conduct the steep turn by the candidate but determined by the ACP to be unsafe could compromise the Aim of the item and be deemed has a failure of the item.
The speed maintained during the turn will be based on the helicopter type. For example, the speed chosen to conduct the steep turn on a Bell 47 should be closer to the best rate of climb airspeed (Vbroc
Caution must also be exercised so that airspeed does not decay to below translational lift during any turn from into wind to downwind at a reduced airspeed, especially in stronger wind conditions.
Flight Crew Training, Evaluation and Examinations (AARTFE)
Flight Crew Training, Evaluation and Examinations (AARTFE)
Original signed by
Commercial Flight Standards (AARTF)
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