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Vuichard Recovery Technique - How to escape a Vortex Ring State


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Here's an instance when it was just too late and a hard landing was inevitable - or was it? Could the pilot have escaped using the Vuichard technique if he'd quickly realised his situation and acted quickly enough? Hard to tell but probably unlikely so close to the ground. You'd need serious ninja reflexes to escape that one.

 

Bell 412 settling with power

 

Also, was that vortex ring state or settling with power? Hard to tell definitively but I would guess most likely vortex ring, given the hard flare at the end.

 

Strangely enough, Transport Canada makes distinction between the two whereas both the FAA and EASA consider them to be the same thing. I find it a bit disconcerting that they don't all agree. I was trained in Canada so I agree with their opinion that there's a distinction between the two. I can't remember the exact definition they gave but consider this situation:-

 

A Robinson R22 with two big guys onboard approaching a mountain top landing. Pilot doesn't do a power check before committing to landing. He makes a perfect approach at a shallow angle but as he exits translational lift over or near the landing spot, he finds that even with full power he can't keep from sinking to the ground. He's not in vortex ring at this point, just found himself outside the performance envelope of the aircraft at that altitude - the aircraft is settling with power.

 

So essentially settling with power occurs when the performance limit of the aircraft has been exceeded in a hover or below translational lift speeds. That's my understanding of it - feel free to post the correct definition if mine is a bit off.

 

Interesting topic. Any thoughts on this?

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There is a distinction in the U.S. Army at least. Just as you mentioned, settling with power can be overcome if only you had more power available. Once you enter VRS, more power just makes it worse. They do tend to follow, however. That is, it is common for settling with power to develop rapidly into VRS, because you don't have enough power to keep the descent rate low enough.

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