Exercise 14: Circuit flying




In this lesson, the student will learn how to operate within the local circuit as well as unfamiliar airfields. They will become familiar with joining and landing procedures from base, general circuit pattern terminology, airmanship and phraseology.




  1. Fully brief the local circuit geometry. Ensure that the student understands the various sectors of the circuit, how runway headings are determined and how the circuit pattern relates to it.
  2. As well as local airfield circuit procedures, brief the procedures when joining an unmanned and or unfamiliar airfields circuit.
  3. Once joined the circuit, and ready for lift. Fully demonstrate flying the circuit and the associated radio procedures from lift off to touch down.
    • Positioned into wind, and cleared for lift, lift off into a steady hover and do hover checks.
    • Transition to forward flight, keeping the helicopter at the correct height and straight up to 40Kts
    • At 40Kts, rotate into the climb, align with runway heading and allow the helicopter to accelerate to climbing speed.
    • Start the crosswind turn at 500FT AGL, and level off at 800FT AGL.
    • Maintain circuit height, speed and circuit geometry on downwind. Point out applicable reference points.
    • Perform downwind checks and radio call once a beam the tower or as traffic permits.
    • Allow for adequate space for positioning and landing, initiate base leg turn and descend to roll out on final approach at 500FT AGL.
    • Do final approach checks and call final approach.
    • From 200FT AGL, Start to decrease the speed, aiming to reach 40Kts at 10Ft.
    • Encourage the student to allow for a hover taxi phase to gradually transition back into the hover
    • Establish a steady hover and land.
  4. Ensure that the student understand the importance of reference points on each leg
  5. Ensure that the student understands the effect of wind, and how it dictates circuit pattern
  6. Emphasize power settings, heights, speeds, and the importance of accuracy.
  7. Teach a constant approach path with minimum power changes, and hold the student accountable from an early stage to a constant landing position. So they can learn to judge and assess an accurate glade path.




At the completion of this exercise the student must be able to fly a normal into wind circuit. They need to be fully competent on the radio, and be familiar with local circuit pattern geometry and relevant procedures (Noise abatement etc) the student will also need to have a developed situational awareness, and be able to read and adjust their circuit accordingly to accommodate other circuit traffic.




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