East Coast Aero Club Safety Procedures and Practices
by Philip Greenspun and Kasim Te; revised November 2008
Developed for students at East Coast Aero Club which operated under FAR Part 141 from July 2008 through July 2010.
Site Home : Flying : Helicopter 141 : One Item
Weather Minimums (VFR)
- Dual flights
- hover work only: visibility 1 mile
- pattern work: visibility 2 miles and ceiling 700'
- leaving the airport: visibility 3 miles and ceiling 1000'
- wind limitation for all types of dual training: 35 knots, including gusts
- Solo Flights
- ceiling 1000 feet
- visibility 3 miles
- wind limitations: 15 knots maximum, including gusts (R22
Private student); 18 knots maximum, including gusts (R44 Private
student); 20 knots maximum, including gusts (R22 student beyond
Private); 25 knots maximum, including gusts (R44 student beyond
Aircraft Starting Procedures
- Each pilot shall check the squawk list that is kept inside the ship.
- Conduct a careful preflight in accordance with the manufacturer's
checklist. On a restart, at a minimum, check the fuel level, oil
level, rotor head, and tail rotor. Open cowl doors to check for fluid
leaks or sprays and to check for frayed drive belts.
- After the checklist preflight, walk around the aircraft at a 10'
distance to look for open cowl doors, wheels, tiedowns, and anything
else that you might have missed during the close-up inspection.
- A flight instructor will be in the aircraft for all pre-solo starts.
- Position the helicopter so that rotorwash does not endanger buildings, autos, or other aircraft.
- Remember that if it is windy, the doors can be blown into the bubble: "Hand on door or door closed and latched".
- Remind any person (including your instructor) adjacent to a
removed door to empty all pockets and place contents underneath the
- Runups will be performed at a safe distance from obstruction and life.
- If on the East Ramp, push the helicopter out beyond the driving lane
into the taxi lane that is part of the ramp, i.e., not the parking area
in front of the hangar.
- Before the first lift, do a flow check starting from the compass,
ending with the carb heat, and checking each gauge, light, or switch in
Taxi Procedures and Collision Avoidance on the Ground
- Check fuel levels, engine gauges, rotor RPM, and warning lights
before every lift into the hover.
- Avoid taxiing over any surface with debris or litter.
- Talk to Tower or Ground control prior to leaving any ramp.
- On the East Ramp, use the north or south taxi lanes; do not taxi in between the rows of parked aircraft.
- Hover taxi around other aircraft extremely slowly and at a safe distance.
- Do not try to maneuver through a tight area without an outside observer watching for a safe clearance.
- Shut down following the checklist procedures.
- Make note of the Hobbs meter reading.
- Close and latch doors. Remember that if it is windy, the doors
can be blown into the bubble: "Hand on door or door closed and latched".
- Align rotor at the 11 or 1 o'clock position to make it easier for
vehicles to drive around the helicopter. In any but the calmest
winds, avoid the 12 o'clock position as a wind gust can push the rotor
into the tail.
- If the winds are blowing or gusting more than 15 knots, use one
blade tiedown to secure the front blade to the helicopter nose;
remember to push up on the rear blade rather than pulling down on the front.
- If the winds are blowing or gusting more than 23 knots, tie down
the rear blade to the tail cone in addition to tieing down the front
- Do not attempt to clean the helicopter bubble unless you have read
Windows" and been given instruction on using the soft microfiber
cloths. Never use a paper towel. Never wipe in circles.
- For cross-country flights, add at least 10 minutes to the FAR
91.151 minimum fuel reserve of 20 minutes. I.e., plan to arrive at
your destination with at least 30 minutes of reserve fuel.
- If the low fuel light comes on and you are not within an airport
traffic pattern, land at the nearest suitable clearing, such as a
soccer field. We will drive out with a gas can.
Fire Precautions and Procedures
- Never land in tall dry grass. The exhaust is low to the ground and very hot; a grass fire may be ignited.
- Do not use the engine priming system unless the outside air
temperature is below 50 degrees Fahrenheit for the R44, 40 degrees for
the R22. Use it sparingly in any case, no more than two squirts.
- Familiarize yourself with the engine and electrical fire procedures in the P.O.H.
- If not at Hanscom Field (KBED), call the East Coast Aero Club for
further instructions. Do not attempt to start the engine after spraying
with a fire extinguisher.
In the event of a precautionary landing, notify East Coast Aero
Club as soon as practical. The pilot in command is responsible for the
aircraft until released by someone from East Coast Aero Club.
Reporting Aircraft Discrepancies
- Each pilot shall report any discrepancies on the squawk list
that is kept inside the ship.
- In reporting a discrepancy, concentrate on the symptoms; the mechanics
will determine the source of the problem.
- If during business hours, after writing down a squawk,
contact the East Coast Aero Club front desk staff and inform them that
there is a new squawk.
- If not during business hours, after writing down a squawk,
remove the keys from the book and place them in "After Hours Grounded
Aircraft Key Drop" key slot located next to the main office door. Call
the helicopter coordinator, whose name and phone number are placarded
on the inside of every helicopter notebook, and inform him or her of
the situation. After placing the keys in the slot and making this
phone call, return the book to the office night slot. The helicopter
coordinator will contact maintenance and other customers, as
Returning an Aircraft to Service
After a discrepancy has been recorded, only a mechanic may return the
aircraft to service. An "open squawk" is one where the squawk list
has an entry reporting a discrepancy, but no corresponding entry from
a mechanic. The aircraft should not fly with an open squawk. The
mechanic's entry may indicate that the problem has been fixed or that
the problem can be deferred until the next inspection, but there needs
to be an entry confirming that a mechanic has investigated the squawk.
Mid-Air Collision Avoidance
- Hanscom Field is busy with piston airplanes in a moderately
tight traffic pattern at 1100' MSL and turbine airplanes in a
moderately wide traffic pattern at 1600' MSL. Avoid flying at these
altitudes when near the airport. A good practice is to drop down to
700' when within 2 miles of the field.
- Be vigilant about restrictions to remain on one side or another
of the active runway. A restriction such as "remain north of runway
29" is the air traffic controller's primary means of separating you
from other aircraft.
- When doing airwork in the practice area northwest of Hanscom
Field, near the observatory "golf ball", consider requesting VFR
advisories from Boston Approach. It is likely that you will have
fixed wing company at 2500' in this area and fixed wing traffic
overhead at higher altitudes en route to Hanscom or Logan.
- Remember to spend at least 90 percent of your time looking out
the window and keep your head swiveling to find aircraft convering
from the sides. Review the scanning and collision avoidance advice in
AIM 8-1-6 and 8-1-8. Always divide your attention between scanning
and such tasks as programming the GPS or studying a chart.
- For introductory hover work, request the numbers of a runway that
is not in use, e.g., "the numbers of 23" when 29 is in use. A runway
is the largest obstacle-free area on the field and the hard surface
helps prevent a dynamic rollover in the even of inadvertent ground
- For pattern work, request Taxiway Romeo, which runs between the
numbers of 23 and the numbers of 11 (refer to the Hanscom Field
airport diagram). When 29 is in use, try to make your first turn
before the ILS shack and over an access road so as to remain well
clear of 11-29. Try to turn base before overflying the new houses
abeam the numbers of 29. Limit your pattern height to 700', keeping
in mind that student pilots will be trying to maintain 1100' in the
airplane pattern overhead.
- For airwork, consider the standard Hanscom Field flight school
practice area centered around an astronomical observatory ("golf
balls") 14 n.m. NW of the field, keeping in mind that there may be
quite a few airplanes coming in to do stalls and steep turns at 2500'
- For simulated engine failures and high-altitude autorotations,
consider the area surrounding the closed Moore Army Air Field,
adjacent to Fort Devens. Keep to the north side of Rt. 2 at all times
to avoid Restricted Area 4102.
Minimum Altitude Restrictions
- Fly at least 500' AGL at all times unless they are intimately familiar with an area.
- Do not follow rivers at low altitudes because wires
tend to be strung across rivers.
- Fly over the tops of towers, rather than in between, to ensure safe clearance from wires.
An instructor with less than 500 hours of helicopter time cannot teach
autorotations in the R22 if the outside air temperature is higher than
30 degrees C. At high temperatures, you won't have enough engine power
to arrest a high descent rate in the event than the flare is not
A power recovery shall be initiated at 100' AGL unless all of the
following conditions are met:
- rate of descent less than 1600' FPM (most important!)
- airspeed between 60 and 70 knots
- all turns complete
- rotor RPM in the green
Robinson Safety Notice SN-38 states "To maintain instructor focus and
minimize student fatigue, limit practice to no more than 3 or 4
consecutive autorotations." Instructors will not teach more than 4
autorotations in a row.
Helicopter Maneuvers (including simulated emergency landings)
- The following maneuvers will not be practiced unless a flight instructor is on board:
- Autorotative descents
- Hovering autorotations
- Simulated emergency landing procedures
- Settling with power
- Running landings
- Recovery from low rotor RPM
- The following maneuvers must have instructor initials before student solo practice:
- Quick Stops: _____ (Student Initials) _____ (Instructor Initials)
- Confined area operations: _____ (Student Initials) _____ (Instructor Initials)
- Pinnacle operations: _____ (Student Initials) _____ (Instructor Initials)
- Slope landings/takeoffs: _____ (Student Initials) _____ (Instructor Initials)
- Off airport landings: _____ (Student Initials) _____ (Instructor Initials)
- Aerobatic maneuvers are prohibited.
- Smoking during preflight and refueling is prohibited.
- No student may start a solo practice flight unless operating under flight conditions approved by an instrutctor.
- A VFR flight plan must be filed and activated for all solo
cross-country flights or equivalent information left with East Coast
Aero Club personnel. All day cross-country flights must be planned to
terminate at least 30 minutes before sunset.
- Always preflight the aircraft.
- Frost or ice on the helicopter should be removed only be pushing helicopter into a heated hangar.
- Know the fuel capacity, consumption rate and fuel system of the aircraft you fly.
- A checklist and operator's handbook must be on board for all flights.
- Know the limitations of the aircraft and yourself. Do not overextend either.
I have read and understood these requirements:
- Student Name: ___________________
- Signature: ___________________
- Date: ___________________