Helicopter Flight Training Tips

  1. Keep your scan moving
    1. As needed for your particular mission
  2. Scan RPM’s = Green
    1. On hover
    2. On takeoff roll
    3. During all phases of cruise flight
    4. On approach
    5. During practice emergency procedures
  3. Watch your needles
    1. Where are they going?
    2. Watch for trends
  4. Autos
    1. Communicate

                                          i.    Explain task on ground with student

                                        ii.    Initial simulated emergency without warning is dangerous

                                       iii.    Eliminate surprises

                                       iv.    During autos always roll on throttle prior to raising collective

    1. A/S, RPM, descent rate = stable prior to 300 AGL level

                                          i.    A/S, RPM, rate of descent must be stable before starting auto and before 300 AGL

                                        ii.    If above is not met, do go around

                                       iii.    Practice go around anyway

                                       iv.    Scan instruments = RPM, A/S, rate of descent

    1. Have a plan in case of a problem/failure

                                          i.    In case of problem comes up you can do a full down successfully

                                        ii.    Practice autos should be to runways or taxiways, not too rolling hills or grass

 Practice autorotations are similar to firearms training for law enforcement officers.  Pilots spend a lot of time preparing for a situation that they will likely never encounter during their flying careers. 

Each year, there are very few mechanical failures that require the use of emergency procedures to safely land a helicopter.  Due to the risk involved, both to pilot careers and personal safety, it is imperative that pilots and CFI’s clearly communicate, stabilize cockpit indications, and identify a safe touchdown zone when conducting practice autorotations. 

Unlike a bullet fired from a gun, a poorly executed autorotation can be turned into a go-around and attempted again.