Advice for helicopter pilots in harsh winter conditions
Article by by Anette Kruhaug Haldorsen, Jan. 9, 2022
Norway is a demanding country for helicopter operations. There are many factors involved during the winter season. Icing, white-out, snow landing, weather, flameout, fuel, starting in cold weather, parking outside, skids stuck to the ground, frozen ground and more.
To avoid white-out it’s important to:
1. Avoid flying at low altitude over snow covered surfaces without prober references.
2. Do not fly into heavy snow showers.
3. If it’s not possible to see the difference between ground and horizon, turn around or land.
Different technics may be used to reduce the risk of entering self-induced white-out conditions:
1. If possible, stop in high hover and try to blow the snow away. Be aware of different snow types, and that the snow may start to recirculate suddenly when the helicopter is close to the ground.
2. Do not attempt to land if there is no object you can use as a reference during landing.
3. Perform a fast approach with a slightly forward movement and avoid low hovering.
4. Turn the nose of the helicopter, so the reference is visible at all time and fly close to it.
5. Make use of landing lights.
6. At take-off, lift the helicopter slowly to light on skids. If white out conditions occur land immediately, if not a max performance take off shall be performed with a slightly forward movement and always keep a point as a reference. Avoid hovering.
More in this informative article.
I use this opportunity to wish you all a wonderful Christmas time and a Happy New Year! Michel, ESPN-R Coordinator
In relation to the volcanic eruption in Iceland mentioned below, EASA has published on Dec. 19, 2023 an update to the Safety Information Bulletin on managing the risk of volcanic ash events.1 like
Iceland volcano erupts on Reykjanes peninsula, 22:17, Dec. 19, 2023
Quote: A volcano has erupted on the Reykjanes peninsula of south-west Iceland after weeks of intense earthquake activity.
About 4,000 people were evacuated last month from Grindavik, a fishing town about 4km (2.5 miles) away.
The eruption started north of the town at 22:17 local time (22:17 GMT) on Monday, the Icelandic Met Office said.
Thumb up for the helicopter pilots operating in this risky area!
Fire is never a pilot's best friend.
Do you remember the EASA Volcanic Ash rules and guidance material?
EASA Handling Unanticipated Yaw (topic of the year) video now with an accompanying article, Dec. 15, 2023
Unanticipated yaw is a high-risk phenomenon that can result in Loss of Control In-Flight (LoC-I) accidents, the number one killer also for rotorcraft.
This video is about a professional pilot that performs a training landing as part of an exercise with firefighters. During the short final, he experiences and recovers from unanticipated yaw. Pilots must be aware of and understand the risk of an unanticipated yaw and know how to prevent and recover from it. The key message is: Be prepared to experience unanticipated yaw and should that happen, decisively apply full opposite pedal to stop the yaw and recover control over the situation.
Thank you for sharing this material through your professional networks and on social media.
EUROPEAN ROTORS 2023 - EASA Rotorcraft and VTOL Symposium, VAST ESPN-R Safety Workshop and Rotorcraft Safety Zone presentations are now available!
Agendas and presentations are available in EASA Events at: https://www.easa.europa.eu/en/newsroom-and-events/events/easa-rotorcraf….
Warm thanks again to all presenters and participants!
Michel, ESPN-R Coordinator