This event was from March 6th-March 9th and was held at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Center in Dallas, Texas
Sporty's Pilot shop in Addison, Texas told me about the conference, and asked if I had ever met the Whirley Girls, which as essentially the Helicopter Women, so they do Rotor Wing.
Vendors that I met with, will be disclosed at a later time with highlights, I have about three or four conference bags full of vendor items.
I have only flown with Sky Helicopters in Garland, Texas & Epic Helicopters in Fort Worth, Texas. Both were R-22s, and I was able to practice hovering which takes a lot of practice. The best way that I could describe a discovery flight on an R-22 is that you are pushing against your grain of instincts riding a bicycle, because there is a bar that looks like a hughe biycle bar you want to grab both handles to navigate the helicopter, and you as the pilot, are only allowed to hold/touch one side of that bar which maneuvers the entire rotor winged aircraft.
Rotor Wing is a different type rating that a fixed wing. Most of my experience has been on a fixed wing. My son really wanted me to fly helicopters too, so I put it in my schedule in my spare time that I do not have.
I attended meetings, one was for Educational Safety, where we had a conference with people in the Safety industry about changes in safety for helicopters, it was like an open after forum discussion where we in the audience received an update from about 5 industry heads, and then people in the audience were able to ask questions afterwards.
Dallas Big Rotor and other meetings ranged from March 7th- March 9th. I stayed for the whole conference, including coming early for the exhibitors section by accident. Called my AOPA to get a quote to include rotor insurance and talked with my flight training school about staying on course and schedule with finishing my private license, and then getting into other ratings.
The rules for the FAA are that anytime in aircraft counts towards flight hours, so you can essentially build hours towards another rating, but most advice from flight training schools are that while you are working towards your private license, spend the most time in only one aircraft, even if you test out a few others, just make sure that you know everything about that aircraft for your check ride, because the test coming up to be reviewed by licensing by the FAA, means that you do not want to have a delay time of operating other aircraft you might not be tested on, so having a basic experience is great, but learning to span out your training on different types for other ratings, is more of a timing issue for building your learning in my opinion.
There is also a saying about the learning process in humans that you can take a pilot from a Cessna to a Jet, but you cannot take a Jet pilot into a Cessna because he will forget. Once you build upon a single engine to a multi-engine, pilots that do not keep current with their aircrafts won't remember how to operate them if you just take them from their aircraft they are currently on and throw them back into what they originally trained on.
I have had some normal nausea doing the engine stalls in a fixed wing, in helicopters, you do not do the same type of stalls because of how the aircraft is designed, meaning that you will not intentionally take a helicopter to stall the same way you would a fixed wing because a rotor wing flies differently with other controls like the governor that keeps a balance, & the drop of a helicopter is not the same angles, velocity, and so forth as a fixed wing. When I did my stalls in a fixed wing Cessna 172, we took it up multiple times midair to have the engine stall also while we were climbing, which has a different drop that you can feel than when you stall without climbing. So far in 20 hours I have had two or three times where I have been motion sickness, primarily from that maneuver, & I would go as far as saying that since I had flown a diamond star to Oklahoma and back and it had auto-pilot, which we are not tested on autopilot on a check ride, that you get more motion sickness from your vestibular having to be brain active with controlling the aircraft on account of the motions you have to do between your brain and body level to the horizon, rather than just having a smooth sailing experience on an autopilot.
Helicopters, have more range of motion because they can fly forward and backwards, and I have not built up my vestibular, which is what I call it, most people who have not studied neuroscience, neurosurgery, or aerospace medicine, would probably call it building up your stomach. When you get nauseas, it is felt in your stomach, but it is really the fluids inside your ear that are giving you that sense of motion, that will then trigger those chemicals onto the receptors that tell your stomach you are getting sick, and pilots train to do things like look into the horizon instead of looking onto the ground in motion, because it is not solely the ear with the fluid, it is also the visual feedback from the earth moving below you that can also create dizziness. In helicopters, it is the same way in regards to viewing the horizon, but landing procedures that include hovering, are a completely different matter, because you have a stick that you are controlling the whole aircraft in a motion to remain still while the world is moving around you in a 360 angle from any side, which can be a different task than landing a Cessna or other fixed wing, in which you steer with your feet, without moving at a 360 angle, and you can use both of your hands for the controls.
Some basic principles that are the same are things like commands you exchange with an instructor, such as if your instructor tells you "My Controls", you relinquish control to your instructor, and for both aircraft, your instructor can show you corrections on how to operate the aircraft because you both have a set of controls to share with your learning from.
The FAA was present at the Heliexpo, and I went to one of their meetings. Our Ninety-Nines Women Pilots organization museum is located near one of the FAA offices in Oklahoma. Drones were a topic about registering drones and keeping them from entering into airspace to prevent catastrophic events from flying into interfering with live helicopters and so forth. There is a law about the radius which you have to operate a drone from an airport. The FAA now has a place to register your drones on their site, and I think you get a confirmation that you have legally registered your drone, with safety tips over maintaining your drone in appropriate airspace. I love drones too, they are great for surveying land, flying for fun with your kids, taking pictures or video of outdoor activities, delivering medicine, anything that is not them crashing an aircraft with people on it, I am for.
HAI Committee Hearing, we had a broad range of discussions from safety topics, to industry participation, new members on the committee, we had some audience members give their background, from people looking for participation in their industry, to legislative representatives giving out their contact information over changes in Washington DC, and the meeting lasted the longest out of all the other meetings, I am pretty sure it was a 3-4 hour meeting.
The Bell Helicopter unveiling of the prototype FCX001 was a new design that has not been put on the market yet. I opted for piloting the aircraft in the augmented reality, whereas the virtual reality passenger ride for the V-280 did not have an option to pilot because it was a military passenger only vehicle. The first day that I came by accident to the exhibitor booths while they were setting up I had initially tried out the V-280 before realizing that they were setting up. For the pilot test of the FCX001, it had features where your motion would be able to conduct the screen selection, and you could see commands on the panel window in front of you within your program.
Other testing of devices for me included night vision goggles at a vendor's booth, where I was able to see the differences in using the green night vision technology over the white, and eventually I made it to the Whirley Girls booth to speak to them about their membership and scholarships that they give for their rotor winged girls.
I also visited a reception with Pilatus before I had to go to another college campus for a class. I am off today for an installation of an officer position of the Ninety-Nines.org for the Dallas Chapter.