Basic Flight Maneuvers for Helicopter Pilots

Helicopters are an indispensable part of rescue services. They can save endangered people in remote and hard-to-reach areas because terrain isn’t as much of a restriction. To perform their amazing feats, though, helicopter pilots must undergo rigorous training to make safety their top priority in all situations. Take a look into some of the basic flight maneuvers for helicopter pilots that allow them to perform their jobs successfully.


Being able to hover is a sign that a helicopter trainee understands the controls associated with the aircraft well. It is also essential when picking up injured or stranded people who are in places that don’t allow it to land. At first glance, hovering seems like a simple task. In actuality, the pilot must continuously manage multiple variables while constantly adjusting their inputs to keep the helicopter in the same position. If they were to rise into the air and then leave the controls as they were, the helicopter would quickly begin to turn, change elevation, or move in a horizontal direction.


Takeoff procedures can vary based on where the helicopter is. Ideally, the pilot should be able to raise their aircraft straight up into the air from a hover while above a flat platform. From there, they can slowly accelerate while lowering the helicopter’s nose. There are instances where the ground is inclined, however, and pilots must be able to handle the circumstances to achieve airborne stability. In this case, a pilot will usually turn their accelerating primary rotors toward the slanted ground to straighten themselves out after liftoff. Sometimes, rescue helicopters must also carry heavier loads, which can weigh them down. Since they may not have as much power to move vertically, pilots will use a running takeoff technique to travel forward while also gaining elevation. This method allows them to build more momentum.


Of course, basic flight maneuvers for helicopter pilots also encompass those that help them cope with dangerous emergencies. Autorotation is a technique that pilots employ to land carefully when the helicopter’s engine is malfunctioning and shuts down. They must simultaneously descend while also keeping the helicopter from spinning out, as the normal torque (the tendency for the helicopter body to spin opposite to the main rotor) is gone. The helicopter’s nose must not point too far down during this time, as that could cause it to lose its rotor movement more quickly while increasing its dropping speed. A skilled pilot will know how to glide down despite all these factors bombarding them at once.

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