Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Positive Exchange of Flight Controls Helicopter Collision Avoidance

Incident/accident statistics indicate a need to place additional emphasis on the exchange of control of an aircraft by pilots. Numerous accidents have occurred due to a lack of communication or misunderstanding as to who actually had control of the aircraft, particularly between students and flight instructors. Establishing the following procedure during initial training ensures the formation of a habit pattern that should stay with students throughout their flying careers. They are more likely to relinquish control willingly and promptly when instructed to do so during flight training.

During flight training, there must always be a clear understanding between the student and the flight instructor of who has control of the aircraft. [Figure 1-8] Prior to flight, a briefing should be conducted that includes the procedure for the exchange of flight controls. A positive three-step process in the exchange of flight controls between pilots is a proven procedure and one that is strongly recommended. During this procedure, a visual check is recommended to see that the other person actually has the flight controls. When returning the controls to the instructor, the student should follow the same procedure the instructor used when giving control to the student. There should never be any doubt as to who is flying the aircraft.
Figure 1-8. There should never been any doubt about who is flying the helicopter.

CFIs should always guard the controls and be prepared to take control of the aircraft. When necessary, the instructor should take the controls and calmly announce, “I have the flight controls.” If an instructor allows a student to remain on the controls, the instructor may not have full and effective control of the aircraft. Anxious students can be incredibly strong and usually exhibit reactions inappropriate to the situation. If a recovery is necessary, there is absolutely nothing to be gained by having the student on the controls and needing to fight for control of the aircraft. Students should never be allowed to exceed the flight instructor’s limits. Flight instructors should not exceed their own ability to perceive a problem, decide upon a course of action, and physically react within their ability to fly the aircraft.

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