M22 Cyclic Joystick Failure - Len Klopper (17/12/2010)

Everytime a student, pupil or pilot arrives with a Magni M22 Voyager I get a little voice in the back of my head that says, �who trained this guy, how well does he fly, what if he freezes on the controls, what if his stick comes out�?�  What control do I have as an instructor from the rear with no controls?


Louis van Wyk, the CFI at Aerosport (where I instruct) decided to put me to the test today and we went flying in an M16 as part of our Instructors Refresher training, he was sitting in the front, and I had the instructors seat.  On crosswind he said to me that I was to imagine that we were in an M22, no pedals, power or stick at the back, and him being the student, was waving the joystick/cyclic at me � total directional/pitch control failure. 


After a few moments of confusion I asked him if the power still worked to which he answered in the affirmative.  I asked him to reduce power, and began looking at which way the nose yawed depending on the amount of torque applied through the prop.  This didn�t have much effect in getting us out of the slowly tightening spiral we were in.


Thinking HKGK, I reached back and grabbed the control rods going up to the rotor-head and started pulling and pushing on them.  Voila, the machine responded quite elegantly.  Pulling down pushes the nose up, pushing up pushes the nose down.  One at a time makes the machine roll in the direction of pull.  Within 20 seconds my mind had adapted and I was happily flying the machine from the back seat with my hands pulling and pushing the control rods behind me to maintain speed and direction. 


After mastering this, we realised that I had no rudder control from the back so the next challenge of course became the landing.  He still had power so at least we could adjust altitude for the approach.


After rounding out and correcting a bit of drift with up independent and down control rod inputs, we were facing a few degrees off the runway, I elected to land in the direction of travel rather than risk a skew landing and tilted the rotor ever so slightly into the direction of travel.  Voila, held off, held off and flared by pulling down to a perfect landing.  (Yes, a little across the runway but a good one none the less � we could walk away AND use the machine again)  Fisantekraal is very forgiving as far as runway width is concerned.


This reminded me of the quote


�If you're faced with a forced landing, fly the thing as far into the crash as possible�.

� Bob Hoover