The Buttons below will take you through the different hints and tips that I feel will make your helicopter safer and more reliable.

Clark Richter sent these photos and description of how to modify the collective pocket. The pocket is sometimes not wide enough to allow your knuckles room to fully lower the collective when entering an auto rotation.
Suggested Method for Widening The
Pilot Side Collective Pocket

The following outlines the steps I took to widen the pilot side collective pocket on my Rotorway 162F helicopter. This modification was suggested to me by several Rotorway instructors. The modification provides extra room for the pilot’s hand in the collective pocket in the case he has to enter an emergency autorotation. The factory molded collective pocket in the console in many cases (depending on pilot’s hand size) does not provide adequate clearance for your fingers and knuckles if you are holding the collective and throttle grip in a normal manner that would be used in a steady state flying condition.

  • First the fiberglass console should be off of the airframe and in a disassembled state.
  • Place the console on a bench or table so that the work area is of a comfortable height and position.
  • Using masking tape mark the existing pocket with a centerline down the collective pocket floor. The length of this line is more of personal preference, but allow for enough room to accommodate the collective handle and grip for the area to be widened.
    Here is the collective pocket marked on the back side of the console. Inside of the masking tape lines is where I made the cut using the Dremmel tool with an abrasive disk.
  • Use a second piece of tape to mark the half point of the existing outside shoulder of the console. This point may fall about ½ inch from the outside edge or wall that the tub attachment nut plates are attached to
  • Decide how much area, or total length of the existing collective pocket that you want to widen.
  • Using masking tape draw the side line lengths of tape from the centerline in the collective pocket floor to the second mask line on the console edge.
  • Repeat the last step for the opposite side of the collective pocket.
  • You should now have a masked off box of an area within the existing collective pocket.
    This shows the corresponding marks on the inside of the collective pocket. I drilled holes in the corners of the masking lines on the back side so that I could transfer the lines to the front and make sure I was going to cut in the correct places.
  • Using a 1/8 inch drill bit, drill holes in all four inside corners of the masked off area.
  • Use a Dremmel or similar tool with an abrasive disk to cut along the inside edge of the masked area of the collective pocket, taking care to cut only near the edge of the taped line. Please note; take your time making these cuts as you will need this fiberglass piece that you are cutting away from the console. Do not discard it!
  • Carefully remove the piece as a whole from the console after the final line is cut.
  • Turn the console up side down so that the bottom side is facing up at you. With 150 grit paper, carefully sand the area of the collective pocket and freshly cut edges of the console. When finished sanding, adequately remove all dust from the surface.
    This is side shot looking towards the back of the console. See that gap, that will get glassed over and shows how much more room I am gaining in the pocket.
    This is side shot looking forward towards the front of the console…..similar sized gap to the one in front.

  • Turn the console right side up.
  • Take the cut fiberglass piece (from here on referred to as “the cut piece”) and place it in the existing hole within the pocket. Place the outside edge of the cut piece under the existing lip of the console. You should be able to fit the edge of the cut piece between the existing nut plates (if have installed them) and the inside edge of the console. Place a piece of masking tape on this edge to hold the cut piece into position. The masking tape will also act as a hinge point to allow you to position the cut piece after you turn to console over (upside down). The masking tape will go across the cut piece and the existing console edge lip.
  • After you have flipped the console over (upside down) you should now be able to position the cut piece the proper distance desired (air gap) between the existing pocket centerline and the cut piece line. On my ship I had about a ½ inch gap that I would have to span with new fiberglass lay up. Using masking apply two temporary pieces to the bottom side of the cut piece and the existing console edge to secure the cut piece the proper distance from the collective pocket centerline.
  • Turn the console right side up.
  • You will now need to make some sort of mold bottom for the collective pocket. I used an old paint stir stick covered in clear packing tape. This works well, as fiberglass and resin will not stick to it, yet it provides a flat surface to start laying glass up to. Tape the mold bottom between the existing collective pocket bottom and the cut piece taking care to make sure it overlaps both pieces sufficiently
  • Turn the console upside down. Cut fiberglass mat strips to the proper length that you know will fill the valley or gap you created between the existing console surface and the cut piece. Using resin and catalyst mixed in proper proportions start painting your mat strips with the resin mix in place to cover the gap. I laid up three layers with the final layer overlapping both surfaces (existing console and cut piece by about ½ inch of area on each surface). Take care to firmly dab the material so that all air bubbles are removed within the layers of the “laid up” fiberglass. Let the piece cure or “kick” before you start on the next area.
    This shows the first layer of fiberglass mat laid up to join the cut piece to the console. If you look closely you can see the lighter area which indicates how much I opened the pocket up on the bottom. This will come in handy for my big hands when the time comes to practice those autos.

  • Turning the console right side up, you can now remove the temporary mold bottom (paint stick with packing tape attached) you made in the bottom of the collective pocket. Do not discard this, you will re-use it for the collective pocket sides.
  • Tape the “stick to the side of collective pocket where you have an angled gap. Try to fit the stick as close to the inside of the pocket side as you can. Also place the stick so that it is up against the cut edge of the pocket. Take additional packing tape and cover any air gaps you have. Try to make this a leak proof seal but don’t worry about the even placement of the tape as you will be sanding this area later.
  • Turn the console over once again with the bottom facing up.
  • Start laying fiberglass strips across the side angled gap that you have. You will be laying up fiberglass and resin material over the angled gap against the temporary mold bottom (paint stick with packing tape).