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R22 Preflight

Other Stuff You May Find Useful During Preflight

Make sure the control rods are attached and the pal nuts are all tight

This is a picture of how the control rods attach to the swashplate.

First of all, notice that you can see several control rods at the front of the mast near the center right of the picture. To the left of the control rods, just visible under the swashplate, you can see a piece of sheet metal with a round hole cut in it. This allows maintenance personel to mount track and balance equipment. Before Robinson included this part, control rods would have to be disconnected /reconnected to mount the equipment, and then disconnected and reconnected again to unmount the test equipment. There have been several crashes in recent years where maintenance failed to reconnect the control rods properly. If the aircraft you fly does NOT have this mount and a track and balance has just been performed, you should do an especially careful preflight to insure that the control rods have been properly reconnected, the nuts are tight, and the pal (jam) nuts are present.

What is the white hose in this picture?

That's just a drain for the battery. The battery sits in a box which holds it on the helicopter. The drain hose is in case the battery boils over, or someone spills while filling it. The hose conducts acid away from the rest of the helicopter.

Does the Robinson have a blade droop stop?

Yes, the Robinson head has 3 hinges: the center one is the teetering hinge, the outer two are called "coning" hinges because they allow the rotor system to cone. Keep in mind, though, that they work like the flapping hinge on an articulated rotor system. If there wasn't a droop stop, nothing would prevent the blade from dropping all the way to the ground.

In this picture, you can see inside the head the part with the part number A158-1 stamped on it. This is an extension of the rotor blade, which extends way outside the hinge we see in the left side of the picture. The blade is bolted to the hinge, and then there is a little curved extension which is the A158-1 part we see in this picture. Because the hinge acts like a fulcrum, when the outer portion of the blade goes up (cones up), the little curved extension we see in this picture goes down. When the blade comes all the way down, this little curved part goes all the way up and hits the static stop which we see just below the pal nut with the white stripe on it. So, it is this static stop which prevents the curved part from going up, and therefore prevents the blade from coming all the way down.

What is that puddle under the engine? Is it oil?

Yes, it is engine oil, but this is one puddle you don't need to worry about. The tube you see sticking down is the crankcase vent. This allows the crankcase to breath. The oil is from oil vapor which has condensed after shutdown and run down the tube and dropped onto the floor. It is only a few drops of oil, and nothing to be worried about except for the fact that it makes a mess on the hanger floor which you should clean up before someone slips and falls!

What is a skid shoe and how do I check it?

The skid shoe is made of a very hard material which protects the skid from wear when sliding along on the ground, such as during running takeoff and landings, touchdown autorotations, and surface taxi. You should check them on preflight and make sure they have not worn all the way through. You can do this with the landing gear on a flat level surface such as the floor of a hanger by just looking from the side of the helicopter and making sure that the skid is slightly above the floor (you'll see an air gap except right where the skid shoe is.

Before the skid shoe wears out, you can take it off and repair it - your mechanic will know how. This will save you a lot of money compared to ordering a new one from Robinson.

What is that shark fin shape under the helicopter?

That is the antenna for the transponder.

What is that ball underneath the belly?

That is the lifting point you attach to if you use the Robinson helicopter moving machine.

What is that cylindrical thing underneath the belly?

That is the temperature probe.

What about the fittings in this picture on the engine side?

That blue fitting is an oil line return hose. It is returning oil at low pressure from the cylinder head to the oil sump. It is not under high pressure the way the oil lines leading to and from the oil cooler are.

What is this thing with the wire on the engine side?

That is the lower spark plug. The upper spark plug is not visible until you remove the engine sheet metal.

What is the wire in this picture going to the airbox?

That is the carb heat control. When you pull up or push down on the carb heat, this cable slides a plate inside the airbox to select between cool and warm air.

What kind of fuel can I put in the helicopter?

Generally you use 100LL (100 low lead) [blue]. 100LL still has a huge amount of lead in it, just not as much as the 100/130 fuel [green]. It's been many years since I encountered 100/130 [green] aviation fuel. I doubt anyone carries it anymore.

You can't use the 80/87 [red] aviation fuel in the HP, Alpha, Beta, or Beta II. The only version of the R22 that could burn that fuel was the original "Standard" which only had 150HP engine. We had two Standards at the flight school I learned at, but there probably are not any more of those helicopters. Most of them got converted into HPs by adding a higher compression head to the engine.

You can only run automotive fuel in the Robinson if you have an STC for the aircraft. You buy the STC, and keep the paperwork in the aircraft. That gives you the right to put automotive fuel in that particular aircraft, but not in others. In other words, if you have 5 R22s, you would have to buy 5 copies of the STC if you wanted to use autogas in all of them.

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