“The bottom line is the autorotation remains a necessary skill” and all helicopter pilots need to maintain mastery of it, the head of Flight Operations for AgustaWestland Philadelphia told a recent briefing for 50 pilots and operators organized by the FAA Safety Team. The executive, Patrick McKernan, was one of several speakers who covered accident history, legal issues, flight data monitoring and safety culture during the June 2 briefing at the American Helicopter Museum in West Chester, Pa. (See Rotor & Wing International’s July issue for more on the flight data monitoring briefing.) McKernan detailed the approach to safety through consistent and realistic autorotation training, both in a simulator and an aircraft. He also covered design standards, including of pilot reaction time to engine failures in different parts of the flight envelope and consideration of both natural and artificial cueing in an aircraft design to avoid ambiguity when a failure occurs. Numerous safety studies show that autorotation training itself is a contributor to many incidents, which McKernan said reinforces the need for instructors to be trained properly in the maneuver.
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