Friday, August 28, 2015

And Here's To You, Helicopter Robinson

Oakland County International Airport also has a rotary wing flight school in addition to a few fixed-wing schools at the field.

Many helicopters were on display and giving rides at the Open House.

The helicopter of choice for instruction is the Robinson R22. Over 4,600 R22s have been produced making it a very successful and prolific design.

An economical trainer it's a good first craft for those pilots crazy enough to operate a craft that doesn't actually fly. Instead a helicopter achieves altitude and flies due to two operating principles:

1. Lift is first created by beating the air into submission;

2. Even more lift is created due to their being so ugly the earth rejects and repels them from the ground.

A buddy of mine flies helicopters out of KPTK and is currently working on his helicopter instrument rating, in A Robinson helicopter naturally, so we kid each other just a bit.

Helicopters are both more expensive to learn to fly and to operate, so I'll happily stick with learning to fly a fixed wing aircraft.

Robinson also offers the R44 and quite a few operate out of the helicopter flight schools at KPTK, with 4 seats, for a more comfortable ride and larger payload, and some even have air conditioning for comfort.

Here's on of the Robinson R44s doing a flyby of the Tower:

There was also a Robinson R66 offering rides. It's a turbo-shaft powered helicopter with a Rolls Royce engine, and about as close to a Rolls Royce that most people will get.

The Oakland County Sheriff's Helicopter was on display as well. It's not a Robinson but rather a Eurocopter Astar 350 B2 with all the law enforcement goodies attached:

It was quite the flock of flying Robinson helicopters operating that day, and they're fun to watch flitting around and taking off and landing from up close.

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