I am the world's worst helicopter student: my full-time job and my other flying obligations have me flying helicopters once a week or so. This was just like my glider transition, only with the gliders I had a 3 hour drive each way so flew even less than once a month until I decided to knuckle down and go to a big commercial operation and finish the darned thing.
But the helicopter school is on the field, and the helicopter itself is in our hangar, so I have spent a lot of time sitting in the thing working on my scan and procedures.
And like all bad students, I fly better when the conditions are more difficult, like a beach landing with a maximum performance takeoff. Try that in an airplane!
But when I come back to the airport my patterns suck. Worse, I don't think they suck, which means that I am not perceiving something. You've seen your students do this...now so can you!
Then one day last week I was returning from a photo flight in an airplane and decided for once to pay attention to my approach, since I was flying rather than a student. You know what? It sucked!
And now I realize that after a few years of flying focused on Something Else (and maybe a few friendly BFRs from CFI buddies who know that I can fly) I have gotten sloppy. Sloppiness creeps up on you, through some mixture of complacency and ego. I fly great! Why should I pay attention to my approach angle!
The sloppiness wasn't visible until I pushed myself into the helicopter, where someone paid attention and critiqued me.
So here's the plan: I'm going to take my helicopter CFI flying in an airplane while I work on flying a constant approach angle. The airplane costs 1/4 of what the helicopter does and we're working on an eye problem, not a hand problem, so this seems like a practical approach.
I'll fill you in on the results.