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Eden Prairie, MN 55347

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Happy New Year everyone!

I wanted to post this right away because I had personal experience with this very issue.  The link below is a link to a FAA Special Airworthiness Information Bulletin.  It discusses resetting circuit breakers on general aviation aircraft.  The personal experience I had was during a Robinson R44 instruction flight, the auxiliary fuel pump light came on and the circuit breaker had popped open.  I reset the breaker.  For a short time, the breaker stayed in and the light went out.  Eventually the light came back on and the breaker popped again.

Fortunately, the R44 showed no other signs of trouble.  The engine was continuing to run smoothly and the sound of the engine remained constant.  All my engine gauges continued to run in their normal ranges.  These indications told me the engine driven fuel pump was working just fine and we would be able to make it home.  The emergency procedures in the R44 POH outline that if the auxiliary fuel pump light should come on in flight, and if no other indicators of a problem exist, such as a rough running engine, then land as soon as practical, which is exactly what we did.  The flight ended successfully.

The FAA bulletin outlines that repeated attempts to reset breakers can be catastrophic, as it can cause fires.  This is a good reminder for all of us that if we see a popped breaker, do not reset the breaker more than once.  If the breaker pops again, work through the problem and remember the emergency procedure and act accordingly.

The link is below…

Category : Uncategorized | Blog


Posted by Kelly DeBerg Comments Off

Controlled Flight Into Terrain

The FAA publishes Practical Test Standards for applicants for a certificate or rating.  In those Practical Test Standards, or PTS, they dedicate a good portion of those standards to “Controlled Flight Into Terrain” or CFIT.  This is such an important issue that the FAA puts special emphasis on it in the PTS requirements for a check ride.  There have been numerous incidents where aircraft had gone out in marginal weather and ended up flying into terrain.  The reason they call it controlled flight into terrain is because there is nothing wrong with the aircraft or the pilot, just that the aircraft was flown into terrain under normal control.

I found this video on YouTube.

It is a very unique incident because CFIT actually occurred, but the pilot and passengers were able to return home and live to tell the story.  I would imagine this pilot will see some sort of action against his pilot certificate by the FAA.  But the training value in this video is very good.

What is the way to avoid a situation like this one?  Proper planning, understanding and sticking to personal minimums, and having the good sense to cancel the flight if weather, personal minimums, or aircraft capabilities don’t meet the requirements of the flight.  It is easy to get caught up in the excitement to fly, even when weather is unfavorable, but the best pilots, and the ones that live the longest, are the ones who are willing to walk away from a flight if things aren’t right.

Category : Uncategorized | Blog

One of the top questions I hear from prospective helicopter students is this… “Should I train in a Robinson or a Schweizer helicopter?”  It is an excellent question, but it does not have a clear answer.  The information I provide below may help you decide.

To qualify my own experiences, I have trained and worked professionally in both Robinson and Schweizer helicopters, so I can reference first hand experience.

To compare apples to apples, we must compare the Schweizer 300CB/CBi models to the Robinson R22.  These are both 2 seat helicopters that are the most widely used primary training helicopters in the country.  I will discuss the Robinson R44 in a subsequent article.

To start off, both machines are superb to fly, a lot of fun, and very safe.

Lets talk about the R22.  It is a very light helicopter that was originally designed by Frank Robinson to be a personal

Robinson R22

Robinson R22

 transport helicopter for aviators who were already licensed pilots.  The design originates from the 1970′s.  It evolved into the most widely used primary training helicopter in the civilian market.  It is not a helicopter for folks that are on the heavier side.  It has a small useful load; meaning fuel, people, and cargo capacity.  If you are over 240 pounds, it is probably not the helicopter for you.  The R22 is fast compared to the Schweizer.  The R22 tops out at 102 knots of airspeed, and on a good day with one person on board, you could actually reach that speed.  It has a non-conventional T-Bar cyclic system, which makes it very easy to board the helicopter, and with a little time, easy to work with. 

Here are the two important issues with the Robinson product… The R22 (like the R44) has very touchy controls and has additional time requirements associated with it for training.  The extra time requirements refer to the Special Federal Aviation Regulation (SFAR) contained in the Federal Aviation Regulations.  In order to solo, you must have 20 hours in the aircraft.  Some people are ready to solo before 20 hours, but the rules associated with the Robinson don’t allow that.  Also, in order to do flight instruction in the R22, you must have 200 hours in helicopters, and 50 hours specifically in the R22.  This can be cost prohibitive, especially in today’s economy.  A lot of people are ready to be flight instructors around 170 – 200 hours of flight time.  If you can finish your instructor rating well before the 200 hours requirement, then what do you do?  Pay for more flight time just to teach in that helicopter?  That’s tough to swallow for a newly minted flight instructor who is ready to work and be paid to fly, rather than pay for more time.  As for the flight controls, they are not very forgiving and require a lot of finesse, which sometimes requires students to take a little extra time getting accustomed to the flight characteristics.

Now lets talk about the Schweizer 300CB and 300CBi.  (The ‘i’ stands for fuel injection.)  It is a helicopter design that has been in existence for nearly 50 years.  It is a derivative of the Hughes (yes, Howard Hughes) 269 model helicopter that received FAA certification in 1959.  It is a much more robust helicopter than the R22, and it also has a gross

Schweizer 300CBi

Schweizer 300CBi

 weight that can handle the heavier student.  I have trained students and flown with commercial customers who were nearly 300 pounds.  It has more traditional and common type of flight controls, making it very similar in control and operation as it’s larger turbine powered cousins.  The Schweizer was built for training.  Every piece of the design was done with the student pilot in mind.  The helicopter is tough and resilient.  The other nice thing is that there are no additional time requirements to train in the helicopter.  If you are ready to solo, your instructor will send you off without having to reach 20 hours.  And you don’t need 200 hours to teach in it.  Once you have your flight instructor license, you are ready to teach others how to reach the same dream you have!  Another nice benefit is that it is more roomy inside than the R22.  Some models even have a third seat available to accomodate a small child passenger.

The drawback to the Schweizer helicopter is that it is slow.  The best speed you might see out of it is 80 – 85 knots airspeed.  It’s maximum speed is 94 knots, but it would be extremely rare to see that speed.  The reason is because the machine has a large and flat front windshield.  It was never meant to be fast because it was built for training, and in the training environment speed is not required.  There is one other thing that is usually initially seen as a drawback, and that is the lack of a throttle governor on the Schweizer.  But just like anything else, with enough practice, you get used to it.

We have Schweizer 300CB and 300CBi helicopters here at Hummingbird for your primary training.  We do not utilize Robinson R22′s here.  We do also have a Robinson R44 for training.  Look for a discussion on the R44 very soon!

When it comes to helicopters you want to train on, look at the informtion and decide for yourself.  Both helicopters are great machines to fly and are relatively low in cost to rent and purchase.  It is important to remember that both aircraft do the same thing and accomplish the same goals.  They just do it in different ways.  It boils down to engineering.  Each aircraft design has to give and take in order to accomodate different jobs and pilot needs.  Both aircraft have an up side and both aircraft have a down side.  As the person who is considering training, you have to decide what is important to you.  We are here to guide you in that process.  We can be reached at 952-944-2628.  We look forward to hearing from you soon!

Category : Uncategorized | Blog

We would like to announce some great deals available to our customers!

 $399/hour block rate on Robinson R44 through October!*

Robinson R44

Robinson R44

 Our Robinson R44 Raven II helicopter is discounted to the fantastic rental rate of $399/hour through the month of October!  Take advantage of this terrific deal while there is still time.  If you always wanted to get the hours you needed to qualify under the SFAR requirements, or you haven’t flown the R44 for awhile and want to brush up with an instructor, or if you’d like to do instrument training in the R44 using the Garmin 430 GPS, now is the time!


Fall Flight Training Special: $199/month** for Private Pilot Airplane Single Engine Land! 

Jabiru J170-SP

Jabiru J170-SP

Experience the dream of airplane flying for this great special loan program for the fall. 

  • Start immediately
  • 2 flight lessons a week around your schedule
  • Instructors and aircraft readily available
  • Loan application is free and can be done right in the office
  • Same day response to see if you qualify
  • $250 down payment which goes toward your flight training
  • Fraud proof loan where the funds are dedicated to flight training!

The loan will cover all costs of aircraft rental, instructor, fuel, ground school tuition, books, and supplies.

Call us today at 952-944-2628 to arrange your helicopter or airplane training!  We look forward to seeing you!

* This Special Rate is available through the month of October 2009.  Special rate applies to flight training only as a block rate in the Robinson R44 helicopter.  Must purchase at least five (5) hours of flight time to qualify for block rate.  Special rate not applicable to commercial work such as aerial tours, photo flights, etc.  Normal block rate is $460/hour plus $18/hour fuel surcharge.  Standard rate is $529/hour plus $18/hour fuel surcharge.  Special rate does not include instructor fees.  Special rate is wet rate that includes cost of fuel.  Other restrictions may apply.

 ** This loan program applies only to fixed wing airplane flight training for a Private Pilot Certificate.  Information listed is a sample loan rate for a qualified buyer.  60 months to pay.  Other restrictions may apply.

Category : New Offering | Blog

Hummingbird Aviation is now on Facebook

Hummingbird Aviation is pleased to announce that we have entered the world of Facebook, the premier social networking site.  Click here to link to our page.

There you can submit and comment on wall posts, view and post to our blog, view helicopter and airplane photos, or even post your own photos about your flight experiences at Hummingbird.  Adding this component to our online presence is great for everyone to network in order to share stories, photos, and other experiences that bring us all together in the aviation community.

Already, we have professional pilots and pilots who just fly for fun as fans of our Facebook page.  We even have designated pilot examiners as fans, giving everyone wonderful resources to seek out for information!

Thank you for taking a moment to check it out.  We hope you enjoy it!  If you have suggestions please take a minute to comment!

Category : Activities | Blog