That title should read: “The difference between a R22 and a Guimbal G2 from the perspective of an inexperienced student pilot.”
The weather was mild. Light breeze and temps were in the 40s.
I started the lesson with 8.6 hours, to date, all in the G2. I’ve been in R22s and R44s but never put my hands on the controls. Grant has most of his hours in 22s and 44s. Each helicopter has it’s own quirks but I think as a model you could say he knows Robbies well, he can auto down to numbers on the runway. Damn. The G2 has it’s quirks and we’re all learning them. I think the G2 has around 90 hours at this point so everyone needs more time in it to figure out what we like and might be improved.
Anyway, I wanted a better understanding of what the differences between the Guimbal and the Robinson are. They basically have the same power-plant. They both have tail booms and skids… but the similarities seem to end there.
I’m not quite sure where to start but rotors aren’t a bad place. It’s a 3 blade fully articulated rotor as opposed to the the semi-rigid 2 blade R22. Most might argue the 3 blade articulated is more forgiving and isn’t as susceptible to such a quick decay. Also, low G pushovers are a thing and from day 1 in class we’re warned about them. As helicopters generally want to fall out of the sky at any time we are not as worried about mast bumping in the G2 – as worried – pilots are generaly on guard for everything but we can mostly check mast bumping off the list in the G2.
The tail rotor is also different. The G2 has a fenestron and the R22 has a traditional rotor. Among other things it’s quiet, less susceptible to damage on big flares and slightly harder to walk into. You could still walk into it if you wanted to…
That’s about it for the obvious differences. Those “differences” are far more complex then one or two paragraph allows but for the purposes of this post, that’ll cover it. The intent of this post isn’t to set it up as the R22 vs G2 debate which is happening on forums and reddit… I simply don’t have the hours in either aircraft to be commenting, we’ll let pros lead the discussion for now.
OK, on to the instrument cluster which is clearly different. The G2 has what Guimbal refers to as, EPM or Electronic Pilot Management system. It displays power settings, engine / rotor RPM, fuel, flight time and all your sensor data. It’s a nice big glass display and it’s incredibly easy to understand what’s going on with the ship. It’s VERY VERY nice and after wandering around the hanger a bit and checking out the R22s, R44s, Long Rangers, and a EC120… well, it’s a super cool cluster and I feel lucky to be cutting my teeth with this setup.
So, those are the easily identifiable differences from an outward appearance…
PLEASE keep in mind this is being written by someone with little knowledge or time in both aircraft. Why does it matter then? Well, if you’re considering going to school and weighing the options in which aircraft is right for you – you need to talk with the CFIs and Chief Pilots at your school – but here are some thoughts by someone living it right now. If you’d like to get in touch with the folks that run Midwest, http://flymidwest.com/contact/ If you want to talk to me I’m happy to chat, use that form on the contact page.
On to my first flight in a 22. It was cool and low wind. We flew our normal patterns. We did some hover work, some take offs, approaches and some autos.
The startup was similar to the G2. You do a little more manual math in the R22 but nothing terrible. The G2 has that nice EPM where it does manifold math for you. I like that EPM…
On hovers the R22 was a little slower to respond than the G2 and the pedals were VERY sensitive. The G2 you need a lot of pedal input to get the thing to react, the R22 would react as soon as you thought about touching the pedals. A little scary at first but then you got used to it. I chased the R22 all over the hovers, it was like my first day in the G2. I’d say there was a lot of pilot induced oscillation. A LOT. The pedal sensitivity I liked even though I was hovering poorly. Might give this one to the R22.
Once in the pattern the R22 was a fraction of a second slower to respond to cyclic and collective inputs but you needed FAR less inputs to move the aircraft. Pedals were nearly immediate if not twitchy, those needed FAR FAR FAR less input in flight. The G2 also has trim, we rarely use it but you can get that thing to fly straight and level with a few clicks of the button located on the cyclic.
The instruments don’t really compare and it’s a unfair fight. G2 is the clear winner.
Regarding safety… documentation says the G2 has a bunch of advantages, lined fuel cells(yep, I know most R22s do to), piston seats, etc… plus less rotor decay and a few other features listed in the POH. I felt safe in both but the G2 seems solid.
Both have (barely) adequate power but they are trainers so it’s a tie for the most part.
Cost, well, that’s up to you. The r22 is cheaper by a fair amount. I can’t make the call on this one for many reasons, mostly because it’s up to you on what you want to spend so my opinion is just that, my opinion. ($16,350 for the R22 || $24,765 for the G2)
Now it’s time for me to make the call on which I like more and would recommend if some weirdo on the street stopped and asked me. Trolls, please see a fore mentioned disclaimer on why you should or should not listen to me.
I still don’t have enough info to make an informed decision but I love flying the G2. It’s awesome from nose to tail. It’s an easy walk around for pre-flight, for the most part everything is accessible and easy to inspect. With 94 hours on the machine I haven’t seen anything like safety wire or torque paint move, save for one small bolt retainer but it was a non-issue once the mechanic looked at it. From the engine logs it doesn’t seem to be consuming much if any oil. Start up is fairly intuitive and we get through the procedure in 10 minutes, not that you should rush either of those.
I desperately want one in my garage / hanger / estate / powerball lottery funded stash house… I believe the fuel economy is fairly good but if you own a helicopter fuel prices probably are not a huge issue. From what I read it should be fairly low on maintenance, but again, I’m only repeating what I read.
Flying at 80% power with 2 200lb+ guys we can make 80 knots consistently. With a tail wind we do better. I’m not saying I would like to travel cross country in it but… actually, strike that, I’d jump at the chance to fly it anywhere. Sitting in it for 6 – 8 hours at a shot would not get old.
If I’m lucky enough to continue learning how to fly different helicopters I will GLADLY move to the R22s then on to the R44s. I will like / love them too but the G2 will hold a special place in my heart.