Choose a reference point, T’s + P’s in the green, RPM top of the green, clear left and right. Eyes up, towards the horizon.

  • Plan to lift the right skid, first. This will reduce the risk of dynamic roll over.
  • Raise the collective slowly and smoothly. Apply left pedal to counter torque and continue to raise the collective smoothly.
  • As the helicopter becomes light on the skids you can control the attitude off the ground with cyclic inputs. You have full control over the attitude – don’t be scared to make an input. Don’t rely on the collective only, to lift off the ground. Fly the attitude off the ground, with the cyclic.
  • Depending on weight, the helicopter should become light on the skids at around 18 to 19 inches of MAP and get airborne at around 20-21 inches.

Remember to continue applying left pedal as the helicopter lifts off; keep the nose lined up with the reference point.

  • Raise the collective smoothly until the helicopter climbs to a normal 3-5’ hover. Continue the upwards movement, until thes safe height – no one ever crashed into the air. That only happens when skids touch the ground…….
  • Get away from the ground, vertically
  • Check the instruments after you established a hover.
  • Assess control operations during the lift off, if you are in any doubt about the correct operations of any control, abort the lift off.


  • Maintain a steady hover into wind.
  • Choose a reference point to line the nose of the helicopter up with. Smoothly and slowly lower the collective to descend; apply less left pedal to keep the nose lined up with the reference point.
  • As the ground cushion increases the helicopter may stop descending; continue to lower the collective smoothly and slowly in order to descend again. A common mistake is to raise the collective prior to ground contact, resist the temptation and allow for a positive ground contact. Do not drop your eyes… scan in the area of the woolometer.
  • The moment the both skids touch the ground, continue lowering the collective a bit more positive about 1 inch (not MAP!). This will settle the machine on the ground even if you had a little sideways or forward movement. Always try to land vertical with no movement, especially not backwards!
  • Then slowly down on the collective to allow the governor to maintain the RPM top of the green. Do NOT slam the collective down.
  • With the collective fully down, centralize cyclic and pedals.
  • Hold the collective down and keep your hands and feet on the controls at all times. It is very dangerous as well as bad airmanship to leave controls unattended. Remember: when the blades are turning, the helicopter is flying, even though you are still on the ground.



  • Touching down with too much sideways movement or ANY backward movement.
  • Approaching the ground too slow, hence starting to chase the height up and down. Commit yourself rather to the landing, be positive and stop the movements over the ground as you are descending.
  • Approaching too fast, resulting in a hard landing
  • Dropping the eyes to just above the yaw pedals as you are about to touch down. Keep the eyes up, scan and get the full picture. The closest slant angle of the eyes should be in the area of the “woolometer”.


  • Allowing the roll to right to develop. Remember: lift the right skid, first.
  • Using excessive power combined with level attitude, which causes a vertical climb and snatch into the air. Do not speed up the left hand! Do not rely on the collective to ‘depart’
  • Too abrupt application of the collective when departing the surface, causing rpm and heading control errors. Helicopter jumps into the air.
  • Not compensating with the cyclic for the roll/drift to the right
  • Not ‘feeling’ the attitude off the ground with the cyclic, as the machine becomes light on her skids.
  • Too much left pedal application – as soon as you lift off, the tendency will be to fix the heading with applying right cyclic


This exercise should be done over a smooth flat surface at all times. Only when you can do this almost perfectly on tar/cement surfaces, then you can do it on grass surfaces.

Monitor the temperatures and pressures, wind direction and maintain a good all around lookout, before EVERY take off.

(NOTE: It is good practise if possible, to teach students in the beginning to take off and land on hard surfaces, like tar or concrete. It reduces the risk of dynamic roll over dramatically).



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