Weight and Balance in the R44 isn’t any different than in the R22, but there are more numbers and calculations to keep straight. Because of the complexity of the calculations and the fact that most students have to really work to get the R44 out of CG in most flight training scenarios, there’s a bit of learned complacency when it comes to checking W&B in the R44. Take this scenario though: an instructor who’s too big to teach in the R22 gets an R44 and starts a school. Eventually, a similarly-proportioned student enrolls and since they aren’t flying the R22, maybe they aren’t keeping tabs on their weight. While working on the student’s PPLH in the scorching heat and high DA’s of the summer, they fly with the doors off and a light fuel load. They’re well below gross weight and within CG, so the student gets out of the habit of calculating CG for every single flight. Winter comes and the student is now working on his IRH and it comes time to do the cross-country flight. They load up aircraft with full fuel, all doors, extra clothes, and a bivy kit. Even if they pick up well short of max gross weight, they could find their CG well outside of the envelope. When you start loading up the cabin, now it’s pretty easy to start hitting the forward CG limit.
A few disclaimers. This worksheet is NOT designed to be a substitute or replacement for the materials provided with the aircraft you fly, instruction from a competent CFI, and/or the limitations and data contained in the FAA-approved Pilot’s Operating Handbook. It is intended to only be used as a learning tool. Because I don’t have any idea how you plan on using or misusing it, I am not making any claims as to its validity or reliability.
There isn’t any trick to the calculations, so the biggest impediment is keeping the data straight. I designed this calculator with a graphical interface so there’s no opportunity for confusion. It’s also easy to manipulate different configurations to find the best loading and fuel conditions. The printable CG calculations page includes space to make weather, performance, and flight planning notes–another good habit to get into. For the amusement of flight instructors, there’s a student worksheet that is intuitively organized so that students can learn to punch keys on a calculator.
Now here’s a challenge. Can you figure out the maximum instructor-student weight combination that can’t get the R44 out of CG? What’s the heaviest pilot that can take a group of passengers (250 lb, 190 lbs, and 170 lbs) on a 30-min Christmas Lights tour? Post your answers along with bugs you discover, support questions, and comments below. You can also edit this entry to add your own training scenarios by clicking the WordPress Wiki link below.