Review: Rotorcraft Flying Handbook (FAA Handbooks)

5 Star

RotocraftAs good as it gets, April 2, 2008

Federal Aviation Administration

I am thinking seriously about learning to fly helicopters at the age of 55. A private pilot’s license can be purchased for a flat fee of $12,500 in my area, including a lot of extra hours to really add that extra safety factor of assurance beyond the minimum required.

I bought this book to get a sense of what I would be getting into, and I find it fully satisfactory. It is the “official” FAA book and unlike most government publications I have seen in the past, this one is well-organized, fully illustrated into color, with figures also in color.

It is divided into two parts, the first part deals with helicoptors, and the second part (chapters 15 through 21) with gyroplanes, which are a hybrid capable of achieving fixed wing speeds and often with wings that increase stability.

The final chapter is about aerunautical decision-making.

The FAA designation for this handbook is FAA-H-8083-21.

I appreciate this handbook–it makes it crystal clear that serious training will demand my total attention, and that in combination, the complexity of the aerodynamics of the helicopter, the instruments required to calibrate the operations of the helicopter, and the unpredictability and force of weather (not covered in this book, but I am also an offshore sailing skipper with an advanced weather certificate) all make piloting a helicopter a very challenging endeavor.

This handbook also persuaded me that the training facility I have found, which includes a flight simulator, the better for that–I definitely want to feel comfortable in a simulator as part of the training.

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