Exercise 19: Precision transitions



In this lesson, the student will learn how to fly from a hover to 55/60KIAS and back to a hover whilst maintaining level flight at 15ft AGL. The exercise is intended to further develop their judgment timing and accuracy on the controls.




  1. Fully brief Precision transitions, emphasizing the dangers of descending during the final stages
  2. Revisit the power available/Power required graph as well as the HOGE power requirements
  3. Demonstrate Precision transitions:
    • Position the helicopter into wind aligned with a reference point, and a long a line feature if available.
    • Conduct pre-take off and hover checks
    • Climb to 15FT AGL (OGE Hover) and ensure sufficient power
    • Along the line feature, gently accelerate to 55/60KIAS by applying forward cyclic
    • Raise the collective as required to prevent the sink, left pedal to prevent the yaw
    • Gently continue accelerating, ensuring that the student selects a progressive nose low attitude, and does not select it an overly aggressive attitude from the start
    • Hold forward cyclic pressure at translational lift speed to prevent the pop up, and to use additional energy to accelerate to 55/60KIAS. Ease out the left pedal, and apply more right pedal, lowering collective to maintain 15ft AGL if necessary.
    • Give a verbal warning to prompt the student when the initiating the transition back to the hover
    • Lead by slowly and smoothly lowering the collective. Before the helicopter starts to sink follow with aft cyclic and right pedal to keep the aircraft in balance.
    • Emphasize the importance of maintaining balance with the pedals to prevent yaw induced LTE
    • Continue decreasing the collective and raising the nose to reduce the speed.
    • Coordinate the lowering of the collective and backpressure with the cyclic to maintain level flight.
    • As the speed decreases below 40kts, anticipate the loss of translational lift and slowly start to raise the collective, applying left pedal to maintain direction and alignment with the reference point
    • Prevent rapid tail rotor drift right with left cyclic pressure as airspeed is reduced, and power is increased to hover power.
    • When the helicopter stops, apply sufficient collective to maintain height, pedal to maintain direction and slight forward pressure on the cyclic to prevent any nose pitching up moments.
    • Allow the nose to drop into the hover attitude, and then apply slight backpressure on the cyclic to stop any forward creeping tendency.
    • Ensure that sufficient power is available to maintain an OGE hover.

NOTE: If the RRPM starts decaying roll throttle on, reduce power slightly, convert height into speed and fly away.

  1. Allow the student to practice precision transitions into wind
  2. Reiterate the dangers of doing a precision transition downwind as well as descending through transition back to the hover. Never allow the student to descend during transition.




At the completion of this exercise the student must be able to perform precision transitions into wind maintaining constant height. They will be able to correctly assess control requirements to maintain height and be able to smoothly manage simultaneous collective and cyclic control whilst maintaining balance. They will be acutely aware of conditions leading to the onset of vortex (Descending through transition/performing precision transitions downwind) They will be able to correctly manage power OGE, and be aware of the limitations, they will also exercise good airmanship in maintaining constant tail rotor clearance and to be aware of its position at all times.

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