Following up my rule of training on the tandem, in March 2011, I came to perform nice and safe wing-overs, SAT’s and loopings. Still there was one more essential step to take: the ellusive Helicopter.

Notorious amongst tandem acro maneuvers, the helicopter is regarded as “dangerous and unpredictable” because of the high risk of shoot of the tandem upon exit (when resuming normal flight ). But why does that happen, and how to avoid it safely, every single time? Well, I had my theory, and was willing to test it.

I was fully determined to find a perfectly safe way, as ” The helicopter is a never ending story “, the most connectable and prone to choreographic variety of all acro maneuvers, that would keep me busy and entertained for many thousands tandem flights!

So one day, I strapped 60 kg of water in my harness, and took off (helped by 2 friends) to test my theory. For, you see, I thought that the way to exit heli on tandem must be through fullstall, and not directly from the deepstall.

In a fullstall, at first the pilot+passenger falls backwards in a forward pitch momentum motion. But, because of the massive braking of the stall, the glider cannot shoot. Now, as the backwards pendulum motion ends, the pilot swings forwards, coming back under the glider (which is still stalled). So that is when there is no pitch momentum and that is the right moment to release the brakes, and the glider opens up nicely without any shoot whatsoever.

I went out, and tested the technique, and after 10 helicopters safely performed with water, I started spinning passengers, but only light ones, max 60 kg, for the first 200 hellies or so.

It must be well understood that the weight of passenger is direct proportional with the amount of shoot tendency in deepstall! And it must be noted that the amount of brake applied on the tandem cannot be more than the weight of the pilot only, while the shoot is proportional to both the weight of the pilot and the passenger. Stalling keeps you safe :).

Here is the video of my water training. Enjoy, and try yourselves, if you have the level ( perfect solo helicopter ) to begin training hellies on the tandem! Safety first!