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Academic subject requests
#1
Hey all you Mosquito lovers! For those that don't know me I am actually a veteran in the community and a card carrying member of the Mosquito Mafia and yes, I have the jacket to prove it! I returned here to the Mosquito Forum recently after several years away. I was away for no other reason than the direction life pushed me which is actually more into helicopters (not less). I have stayed in contact with some of my closest Mosquito friends (Michael "FlyGuy" Marshal, Lorne Diebel, Leo Faucher, Gary Dohms and Dwight Junkin) to keep my finger on the pulse of the community. I have even attended a Factory Flyin or two.

I am a career helicopter pilot of 29 years. I spent 20 years in the U.S. Army working on and flying Black Hawks. I retired 11 years ago (2007) and immediately started flying as a civilian EMS helicopter pilot and built a Mosquito XEL with my father. I flew EMS helicopters and did some helicopter instruction until November 2014 when I moved back to Korea to work as a civilian instructor pilot for the U.S. Army. I now live in Seoul, South Korea and instruct in the same UH-60 Black Hawks that I was flying when I retired from here. 

I am very passionate about helicopters and I love talking and teaching about flying them. I could post subjects that come to mind but I would much rather respond to questions about subjects that you may have about helicopters, especially Mosquito helicopters. I hate complexity with all my heart and therefore, I really like to explain things in the most simple way I can possibly craft. My goal is not to hear myself talk (that's why I'm not posting any un-requested subjects) but to help you understand how the helicopter works and how to fly it so that you have a better chance of executing each flight to a safe completion. So, if you have a burning question please post it because chances are that other people probably have the same question and people other than myself have answers and input that could help all of us out. I'm not the greatest or the smartest pilot in the world but I try hard and I will be happy to help anyone out if I can.
Mark Thompson
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#2
Hi Mark,

So glad to see you back on the Mosquito forum. I followed your father Eddy over here from the RC helicopter forums when he announced he was quitting RC to build the Mad Mosquito. I was so shocked and saddened to hear of his passing, much the same as hearing of John Uptigrove’s passing. I was not registered then, but would now like to express my belated condolences on losing your father.

I missed the opportunity to have some instruction with you while you were teaching in Texas in the Enstrom. If you have time, I would like to hear some of your thoughts on things you would teach new students who may not be going for their helicopter license, but were interested in at least the ten hours of instruction and looking at flying a Mosquito.

Regards,
Rick
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#3
Rick,

Thank you for the kind words and condolences. It's hard to believe that was over eight years ago. My dad was never as happy as he was when we built and flew the Mad Mosquito. Those were the happiest three years of his life and although I was very sad to lose him the fact that he died doing something he loved somehow made it peaceful for me.

I wish I could have flown with you and many others but no one from the Mosquito community ever came to me for their dual instruction. I actually don't recommend getting a pilot's license to those who only intend on flying the Mosquito since there is so much you must learn that just doesn't apply to the kind of flying Mosquito owners typically do. Additionally, getting through the check ride with an examiner can really be hit or miss and if it is a miss with an examiner who is a real perfectionist it can be very discouraging to the student and cause the student to unnecessarily sink a lot more money into more instruction and another check ride. Flying a helicopter (especially one where the pilot controls throttle) is a pretty tough skill to learn and if all one desires is to fly in uncontrolled airspace over the country side then a lot of the instruction involved in getting a license is a waste of money and not really tailored to what a person needs to survive in a single seat helicopter. I think it is much more prudent to teach the student about the pitfalls that will get them killed and to make sure they really understand how their machine works and the tell-tail signs of impending danger. A really good understanding of the aerodynamics and physics academics is key. I think the first ten hours of flight training for a Mosquito student should focus on pick ups and set downs and hovering flight initially. Dynamic rollover is the danger at this stage so the student must be able to feel the helicopter well enough to pick it up with no heading change and no sliding or drift all while managing a smooth ascent with collective (no clean and jerk takeoffs and then figure it out once it is in the air). Once the student has pick ups, hovering and set downs really solid with the instructor I would recommend they get in their Mosquito and practice all of that (hovering only, no forward flight) for many hours until it is all perfect and easy to do. Then, get back with the instructor and learn takeoffs, forward flight, approaches, autorotations and tail rotor malfunctions. Once all of that is solid then get back in the Mosquito and methodically work on all those skills with much time spent revisiting the academics and reflecting on what all of it means. Know it well enough to teach it. I know all that sounds hard but it should all be fun since this is what helicopters is really all about. The hovering is the best part!
Mark Thompson
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#4
Well Mark this has piqued...peaked...peeked...err sparked my interest! So you suggest not even obtaining your PPL-H if your only goal is to fly a Mosi...but considering only 2/5 of the models offered are ultralights whereas the other half are registered experimentals...wouldn’t that mean that a PPL-H is legally required for most pilots(of course when I say “most” that’s just a blind assumption that most Mosquitos out there are not Airs or XELs) to fly the Experimental models?
"Into the fires of forever we will fly through the heavens
With the power of the universe we stand strong together
Through the force in our power, it will soon reach the hour
For victory we ride, Fury of the Storm!" 
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#5
Casey,

Look up sport pilot's license. I think this is how a lot of people are flying their experimental Mosquitos without a helicopter PPL. Yes, I would not recommend a helicopter PPL for a person who is only planning on flying single seat, kit built helicopters. They would be paying for far more than what they really need and it wouldn't necessarily make them a better or safer pilot. The money would be better focused on only the flying maneuvers and academics of flying the helicopter not radio calls, negotiating airspace, cross country navigation or anything else that falls outside of directly flying the helicopter. Practicing these things really complicates the issue and pulls the attention of the student away from what is really important for a single seat helicopter pilot to know. That's my 2 cents.
Mark Thompson
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#6
Well I certainly do not have the knowledge to be considered an authority on the subject, but in my research leading up to my decision to purchase a Mosi, a LSA license only covers fixed wing, weight shift, auto gyro, paragliders and lighter than air, LSA specifically omitted helicopters because of the complexity. I’m not sure I would want an FAA official to catch me flying an experimental helicopter with only a Light Sport license.

I do understand where you are coming from though by just wanting someone to concentrate on learning to fly the aircraft safely...but legally...I’m not for sure you can do it the route you suggested...but I could be wrong...heck it would be great if I’m wrong! I could save so much money on training if I didn’t need my full PPL! Lol

*edit* I just looked up LSA on the EAA’s website and helicopters are excluded from the list of LSA aircraft:

The Sport Pilot Rule:
A sport pilot may exercise flight privileges in one or more of the following aircraft categories:
  • Airplane (single-engine only)
  • Glider
  • Lighter-than-air (airship or balloon)
  • Rotorcraft (gyroplane only)
  • Powered Parachute
  • Weight-Shift control aircraft(e.g. Trikes)
Source: https://www.eaa.org/en/eaa/aviation-comm...pilot-rule
"Into the fires of forever we will fly through the heavens
With the power of the universe we stand strong together
Through the force in our power, it will soon reach the hour
For victory we ride, Fury of the Storm!" 
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#7
Thanks Mark for your response and for sharing your thoughts on the best way to spend the first hours of dual instruction for those interested in the Mosquito. It sounds directly in line with my interest to mainly learn to hover at the beginning. I’d like to get a few hours of instruction soon and spend as much time hovering as I can stand, versus flying around sightseeing. Thanks again for your thoughts, and it would be great to hear more on your ideas about instruction if additional things come to your mind from time to time.
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#8
Casey,

I have not looked that up in years and don't remember much about what I had read before but I'm sure there were guys flying Mosquitos with the Sport Pilot's License. Maybe something has changed or maybe I had it wrong all along. I'll dig in a little more and try to get a solid answer. Another avenue would be to get a fixed wing PPL and do a helicopter add-on. That way you spend a lot less money just to get the license and the heli time is only focused on "flying the heli" not all the other stuff. Flying under Part 103 sure does streamline things so I would add that unless you have a very particular requirement to fly experimental rather than ultralight then why wouldn't you want to go the simplest route? I'm a Commercial Helicopter Pilot/Helicopter CFII and I flew a Part 103 legal XEL (with floats) that I built with my dad. We built it and flew it as a legal Part 103 ultralight because my dad could not get a medical but he always wanted to fly helicopters. If I were to build another Mosquito today it would be an ultralight (Air or XEL). I would not install a governor, a radio or a GPS. I would fly it with only what it needs to fly which is an airspeed indicator, rotor tach, engine tach and engine temps. Anything else just gets in the way of what a Mosquito is for me and that is a pure helicopter in the simplest form it can be. I've talked on radios in helicopters and used GPS navigation systems my entire career and never did those things for any other reason than when they were a necessity. When I didn't have to talk I didn't and when I didn't need a GPS I didn't use them. Those things take away from the serenity of flying a helicopter and flying the Mosquito gave me that undistracted, me, the helicopter and the sky experience. Don't follow the crowd down the road of complexity unless you really can justify those distracting complexities. Before going "all in" on your investment do some soul searching and figure out what YOU really want from this experience. For me, I don't need a noisy radio or a candy colored display screen to go out and have a ball in an ultralight Mosquito. I don't mean to sound condescending but don't miss the point of what you are dreaming about. If you are dreaming about flying your own personal helicopter then "do that" but I'm here to tell you that the most fun I've had just flying a helicopter was in a Mosquito. Just me, the helicopter and the noise it makes. For me it doesn't get any better than that! I'm just trying to keep it real and true to the dream y'all so don't let all the extra expense of a helicopter PPL drag you down because by the time that is all over with you could own two Mosquitos. My 2 cents...
Mark Thompson
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#9
(09-14-2018, 03:05 PM)Mad Mosquito Wrote: Casey,

I have not looked that up in years and don't remember much about what I had read before but I'm sure there were guys flying Mosquitos with the Sport Pilot's License. Maybe something has changed or maybe I had it wrong all along. I'll dig in a little more and try to get a solid answer. Another avenue would be to get a fixed wing PPL and do a helicopter add-on. That way you spend a lot less money just to get the license and the heli time is only focused on "flying the heli" not all the other stuff. Flying under Part 103 sure does streamline things so I would add that unless you have a very particular requirement to fly experimental rather than ultralight then why wouldn't you want to go the simplest route? I'm a Commercial Helicopter Pilot/Helicopter CFII and I flew a Part 103 legal XEL (with floats) that I built with my dad. We built it and flew it as a legal Part 103 ultralight because my dad could not get a medical but he always wanted to fly helicopters. If I were to build another Mosquito today it would be an ultralight (Air or XEL). I would not install a governor, a radio or a GPS. I would fly it with only what it needs to fly which is an airspeed indicator, rotor tach, engine tach and engine temps. Anything else just gets in the way of what a Mosquito is for me and that is a pure helicopter in the simplest form it can be. I've talked on radios in helicopters and used GPS navigation systems my entire career and never did those things for any other reason than when they were a necessity. When I didn't have to talk I didn't and when I didn't need a GPS I didn't use them. Those things take away from the serenity of flying a helicopter and flying the Mosquito gave me that undistracted, me, the helicopter and the sky experience. Don't follow the crowd down the road of complexity unless you really can justify those distracting complexities. Before going "all in" on your investment do some soul searching and figure out what YOU really want from this experience. For me, I don't need a noisy radio or a candy colored display screen to go out and have a ball in an ultralight Mosquito. I don't mean to sound condescending but don't miss the point of what you are dreaming about. If you are dreaming about flying your own personal helicopter then "do that" but I'm here to tell you that the most fun I've had just flying a helicopter was in a Mosquito. Just me, the helicopter and the noise it makes. For me it doesn't get any better than that! I'm just trying to keep it real and true to the dream y'all so don't let all the extra expense of a helicopter PPL drag you down because by the time that is all over with you could own two Mosquitos. My 2 cents...

Yeah I'm totally picking up what you're laying down Mark! Although I think you might be overstating the costs of getting a PPL-H a little bit there  Wink I mean even if it takes me 70 hours instead of the FAA minimum, it's still only about $22k. I mean not that that is cheap by any stretch, but its really not even enough to afford 1 Mosquito, much less 2, but now I kinda feel like I'm just being nit picky to ya haha which I don't mean to be  Tongue

As far as the complexity of flying with radios and GPS's and the like, I'm sort of split minded about it. On one hand, you are absolutely correct, 99% of the time I'm just gonna be flying around the country side just enjoying being in the air, no need to talk to anyone, no need for fancy navigation equipment, just me, my machine and the sky. But on the other hand, if I have the capability, its also nice to know that if I want, I can fly down to Danburry(across Houston's controlled airspace) to go visit my instructor, or fly over to Beaumont, maybe fly down to the airport to refuel. At the end of the day it is just a recreational aircraft, but heck there still can be some practical uses and frankly I would feel better in the air knowing that I am prepared for every possible situation that might arise, no matter how improbable. But I guess now we're just kind of discussing personal preferences than having a true academic discussion lol, but hey, this forum has been pretty quiet lately so hopefully no one is gonna complain  Big Grin

I really did want to go the ultralight route, but frankly, the MZ202 engine just kinda scares me...now I'm fully aware that there are sooo many Mosi owners out there having wonderful experiences with theirs...but man...running a 2 stroke like that at pretty much 100% power just unsettles me. Then add on top of that the recommended 50 hour TBO, I just had to pass on the ultralights. But once again, now we're just talking about personal preferences. Now if the FAA would allow a bit more weight so that we could have the Inntec 800 in an XEL, well that would just be a game changer haha!

But to kind of steer back to the academic discussion, the more I read the more I believe its probably not a good idea to suggest that someone can fly a Mosquito under the Light Sport category. I won't embarrass myself by citing Wikipedia as a source here lol, but there are several mentions that helicopters are indeed omitted from the LSA category. With helicopters requiring such a higher skill to fly safely, they don't really fit well in the LSA category that was created for easier to fly aircraft for those who can't or won't obtain a full on private pilot's license. I wish a member of our forum actually worked for the FAA and could shed some light on these topics haha

Before I committed to my helicopter training, I was struggling with how best to become a safe Mosi Pilot. At first I was under the impression that simply getting a solo sign off from a flight instructor would give me free reign to fly a single seat Mosquito. After a phone call with Dwight however, he informed me that that is not actually correct. When a flight instructor signs you off to solo, they are signing you off for a specific aircraft and no other. So, its possible to get lucky and find a instructor willing to sign you off to fly a Mosquito, but at the end of the day, the flight instructors are out to make money for their families. They want you to continue your training with their aircraft and complete their program. So finding an instructor who would teach you how to fly and then when you're ready to solo, just write you off to fly your Mosi and send you on your merry way never to be seen again is probably more of a dream than a reality. So now I had to make a decision on how to obtain my PPL.

I considered what you suggested, obtain your fixed wing licence first, and then get your helicopter add on rating. The more I dwelled on this option, the less sense it made to me though. Sure, I would save a decent chunk of money, but flying helicopters is not something that should be taken lightly. And here I was trying to figure out how to take less training when in actuality, what I should be worried about is how to get more training. I mean the Mosquito is a single seat aircraft(lol duh Casey!), no one is going to be able to sit next to me and rescue me if I screw something up trying to transition to it. In my head, if I wanted to live long enough to be a safe Mosi pilot, I needed to stack the deck as high as I could in my favor. So I decided to just pay the money and obtain my full pilot's licence. Yes I will learn things that I might never use as a Mosi pilot, I'm going to learn to make radio calls and enter patterns and well...I mean you're an instructor Mark I shouldn't have to tell you all this haha. But even with all of the "unnecessary" things I will be learning to do, at the same time I will be building experience piloting a helicopter. And I figure if I can do all the things a private pilot is required to do all while flying the helicopter, then that just better prepares me for learning to fly a new type of helicopter by myself, rather than getting a fixed wing license, and only half or less as much actual time at the controls of a helicopter.

So to me...I truly believe getting your full PPL-H is much more beneficial, especially if you're someone like me who is starting this journey with 0 helicopter experience, because, keep in mind this is only my opinion, if you're willing to cut corners learning to fly in the interest of saving yourself some $$$, in my eyes that puts you on a dangerous path. Perhaps next you'll be trying to figure out how you can cut down on your maintenance costs or more...and to me that just puts you on the path to an accident and no one here wants that! And that's not even mentioning whether or not you're flying legally as well!

Anyways, I know this has kind of been all over the place, but I figured it wouldn't hurt to share my limited experiences and ideas, just in case someone like me is in the same position, trying to figure out what the right path is. 

So consider my $.02 added as well haha ;P
"Into the fires of forever we will fly through the heavens
With the power of the universe we stand strong together
Through the force in our power, it will soon reach the hour
For victory we ride, Fury of the Storm!" 
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#10
Casey,

You are right on target with everything you said. I didn't realize that a place like Jerry Trimble was offering the PPL-H course for right around $11k. I have been out of the FAA side of instructing for several years now so I guess I need to bone up on what the latest info is if I'm going to be engaging in discussions here. I need to get myself a current FAR/AIM and do some reading. The MZ 202 has proven to be a little problematic but it's really the only option for those who are on a budget and/or can't get a medical and must go the ultralight route. If you have the time and money to get a PPL-H and can go with the XE285 then that is a great plan. So, where are you in the process? Did you start training already? Are you training with Jerry Trimble in Smithville, TX? Did you already order a Mosquito? I look forward to seeing your progress so please share your experiences with us here on the forum. I'd be happy to help you out with anything that stumps you so hit me up in a thread or a PM. Good luck with your training and fulfilling your dream.
Mark Thompson
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