How stupid is this?

Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by Salty, Aug 8, 2020.

  1. Salty

    Salty Final Approach

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    You fly your R44 as close to the pump as you can. Leave the engine running, Swipe your card, climb up on the side and fuel it up with nobody inside and the rotor spinning merrily around (not slowing down). This seems incredibly irresponsible to me. I wish I’d have taken a pic, but I didn’t.

    Over reaction?
     
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2020
  2. ETres

    ETres Line Up and Wait

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    I won't refuel a running lawnmower, so I sure wouldn't with a chopper. :eek2:
     
  3. PaulS

    PaulS Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Battery was probably dead.
     
  4. Fearless Tower

    Fearless Tower Touchdown! Greaser!

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    R44 burns Avgas, right?

    Wouldn’t be my first choice.

    Probably some dude who thinks because the military hot pumps it’s therefore ok for him to do it.
     
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  5. Salty

    Salty Final Approach

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    Yes
     
  6. flyer770

    flyer770 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Yeah that's pretty stupid. We hot pump all the time, but the pilots stay at the controls and the ground crew is trained for it. That's a helluva big difference from what you're describing for that R44.
     
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  7. Hang 4

    Hang 4 Cleared for Takeoff

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    I would think grounding (electrical) would matter a lot with the blades spinning. Seems stupid to me, but I haven't stayed in a Holiday Inn Express in a really long time.
     
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  8. Fearless Tower

    Fearless Tower Touchdown! Greaser!

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    When we hot pump Navy helos, we fill with JP-5 using a pressure nozzle (no open vapors) and there is always at least one pilot at the controls.

    I can’t imagine pumping AVGAS into a running helicopter with a typical self-serve pump nozzle. Not my idea of a good time.
     
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  9. Omalley1537

    Omalley1537 Cleared for Takeoff

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    Sounds like a Darwin Award candidate that unfortunately could hurt others as well. What a moron.
     
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  10. Bell206

    Bell206 En-Route

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    FYI: this has been a topic of intense discussion in the helicopter world for decades... which I tend to stay out of. But a pilot performing an unassisted hot refuel in a avgas Robbie, at an airport no less, pushes that debate toward the stupid end....
     
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  11. Velocity173

    Velocity173 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Yeah I wouldn’t do that with my personal helicopter, or airplane for that matter. But his aircraft and as long as nothing in the RFM or local ordinance prohibiting it, oh well.

    I suppose rapid or “hot” refuel is done more on helos. Probably done it a thousand times but with proper procedures / safe guards in place. Good example of rapid refuel using gravity feed below. As stated above, military is generally pressure or closed circuit. Gravity would take waaay too long.


     
  12. blueskyMD

    blueskyMD Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Hot refueling is done all the time. I saw the Stat MedVac helicopters at my airport refueling with blades turning all the time with only one guy . Friction on on both collective and cyclic controls and other precautions. May be more appropriate in turbines because start cycles are hard on turbines ? Don't know about Piston engines. 100 LL is sure more flammable than Jet A
    But its an approved procedure
     
  13. Bell206

    Bell206 En-Route

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    Curious. Do you have that approved reference handy?
     
  14. Salty

    Salty Final Approach

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    I doubt it’s “approved” for a single person to perform with no ground crew. Might not be illegal, but I seriously doubt it’s “approved”.

    https://www.faa.gov/other_visit/avi...afety/safo/all_safos/media/2010/SAFO10020.pdf


     
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2020
  15. blueskyMD

    blueskyMD Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Well I didn't mean FAR or something like that but the helicopter websites are full of people stating they do it all the time and its part of their company procedures. Are you a Bell guy ?Then you probably know more than me about this stuff.
     
  16. Bell206

    Bell206 En-Route

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    Well when you use the word "approved" that is the normal implication. As I mentioned above, a pilot exiting his helicopter while it continues to run is hotly debated every year. Are there actual approved procedures, sure, but mostly for a 135 or 133 or 137 ops. You'll also find some other countries allow it via a regulatory exemption. However, for your simple 91 ops under the FAA you find more guidance against it than for it. Even Robinson has a few docs out there against exiting the aircraft while running.
     
  17. blueskyMD

    blueskyMD Pre-takeoff checklist

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  18. Salty

    Salty Final Approach

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  19. Bell206

    Bell206 En-Route

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    FYI: FAA approval is very specific and defined. As mentioned above an FAA SAFO is not an approved document. Examples of FAA approval documents would be the FARs, ADs (which are amendments to Part39), TCDSs, AWCs, Orders, etc. Just because the FAA puts out a document doesn't mean the info is considered approved and can just be advisory in nature.
     
  20. A Martin

    A Martin Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Helicopter crop sprayers reload their chemical tanks and hot-fuel all day long and we do not hear of any major issues .

    Plenty of crackups and dangers in that industry but not related to fueling.

    If I was in a remote location and had a marginal battery I would not hesitate hand pumping fuel from a barrel with the engine at idle.

    I have a greater fear of dogs .... had a car-chasing type farm dog run at my tail rotor when I landed .... he took a playful nip at the spinning rotor and it killed him .... farmer was pretty good about it until he saw the damaged blade ($3800) and volunteered he had liability insurance to cover it
     
  21. Zeldman

    Zeldman Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I remember as a kid watching crop dusters refuel with the engine running. Old bi-wings with radial engines and no other help to refuel.

    I always thought it was funny that they refueled on their own, but had help refilling the hopper.
     
  22. Salty

    Salty Final Approach

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    Plane isn’t nearly as bad as hanging on the side of a running heli
     
  23. Arnold

    Arnold Cleared for Takeoff

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    The are hard to hand prop.:cool:
     
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  24. MBDiagMan

    MBDiagMan En-Route

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    There’s a pipeline patroller that hot fuels an R44 at our airport quite frequently. I don’t remember the details about why, but I think it’s something like an hour that it must set after shutdown befor restart. He doesn’t, however, do it at the self serve pump although there’s probably not much difference. I’ve never paid attention to whether or not th is a pilot inside.
     
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2020
  25. Bell206

    Bell206 En-Route

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    FYI: No. If that was required it would put a lot of people out of the Robbie helicopter business.
     
  26. Zeldman

    Zeldman Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Maybe the Robbie guys squirt water on the engine after shut down....:cool:
     
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  27. weilke

    weilke Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Watched a one man spray operation in MN about 10 years back. He had a flatbed truck with a gas-tank and a big white poly chemical tank at the airport. Had a system down ro hot-load both at the same time. The S2 just idled while he filled the hopper and/or added fuel. Last thing before getting back in he would stage a chock in the correct position for the next round. A few gallons of Avgas was probably cheaper than paying ground crew.
     
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  28. smv

    smv Pattern Altitude

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    My guess is that it is because it takes a heck of a lot longer to shut down an R44 than it does to shut down almost any fixed-wing. You have to wait for CHT to drop, then you have to wait for the rotor to slow down, then you can apply the rotor brake to bring it to a stop. By the time you have done all that, you could have dumped ten gallons of fuel in the tank.
     
  29. A Martin

    A Martin Pre-takeoff checklist

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    One thing about the Robinson helicopter is the extra tall mast which makes it safer for ground personnel .... however you need a stepladder to refuel which brings you up closer to the rotor .... and with 2 tanks you have to drag the hose and carry the stepladder to each side

    Hughes 500 has a low rotor but fuel filler is down low on the right side of the fuselage ... you could almost do it on your knees ... tanks are under the cabin so any spills would not be close to the engine
     
  30. Tantalum

    Tantalum Final Approach

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    But do you think they go 'ting'?
     
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  31. wilkersk

    wilkersk Pattern Altitude

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    [​IMG]

    Uh oh, ...here we go again!:goofy:
     
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  32. Tarheelpilot

    Tarheelpilot En-Route

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    Hmm

    I’ve done the ag thing and I don’t like the idea of rolling up on a random airport and hot fueling 110LL alone in a helicopter. It could run sideways pretty easily and if it did there’s a lot unknown about other folks being around. Not a great idea but that’s just my personal risk assessment.
     
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  33. Salty

    Salty Final Approach

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    This guy was just hanging off the side of the heli with one hand, and fueling with the other. Didn’t even bother with a ladder.
     
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  34. wilkersk

    wilkersk Pattern Altitude

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    My thinking exactly!

    Even hand-propping my little "non-starter-equipped" airplane at an unfamiliar airport makes me nervous. I always imagine a group of POA experts gathered around to look out the window, tongues wagging and heads shaking as I single-handedly prop start my little airplane. I expect a visit from the FSDO any day.
     
  35. A Martin

    A Martin Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Somewhat unrelated .... but one time at an airport (cold weather) the (Cub ? ) pilot was aggressively working the primer plunger on his dash prior to starting .... until fuel began dripping out from the bottom of his engine cowl ... it looked "dangerous" to me to have raw fuel in the engine compartment so I pointed it out to him but he waved me off .... must have known what he was doing because it started immediately .
     
  36. wilkersk

    wilkersk Pattern Altitude

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    I have an updraft carb on my little airplane. When I prime, I look for a few drops of fuel to come out the throat of the carb. Especially in cold weather, you'll see some airplanes do that. And, you wouldn't be the first person to stop and tell 'em they flooded it, only to watch it start right up on the 2nd or 3rd blade.
     
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  37. 3393RP

    3393RP En-Route

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    I have a friend in South Texas that has two R44s. He's always busy, chasing cattle on the King Ranch, netting deer, hog hunts, and quite a few other activities.

    He says NFW he will hot fuel the birds by himself. He told me the factory friction lock is so unreliable he designed one and had a machinist friend build it. Even with that lock he feels the risk is too great, because many things can happen when hot fueling and they're almost all bad.
     
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  38. Arnold

    Arnold Cleared for Takeoff

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    The only people who know how to start my engine/carb combo are the people who start my engine/carb combo. That being said, if you are new to little old airplanes I can see how you might be concerned.
     
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  39. Salty

    Salty Final Approach

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    Any plane with a carb with an accelerator pump will dump fuel like that. My Mooney does it. I don’t pump the throttle until after the prop is spinning to suck as much of the fuel into the cylinders as possible.
     
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  40. WannFly

    WannFly Final Approach

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    i was just going to say this... i have seen crop dusters not only refuel, fill the hopper, but the pilot grabbing a quick dinner while that big arse radial engine turning with no one at the controls
     
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