Exercise 9: Lift off and Touch down




In this lesson, the student will learn how to lift the helicopter off the ground into a steady hover, and to touch down from the steady hover position.




  1. Fully brief Dynamic rollover and the corrective action:
    • Opposite cyclic
    • Smooth, immediate lowering of the collective
  2. Recap the basic hover, and emphasize the necessity to not allow lateral or aft drift movement when close to the ground.
  3. Demonstrate Lift off:
    • Positioned into wind, aligned with a reference point approximately 20m away
    • Conduct pre-take off checks.
    • Position cyclic slightly into wind to prevent disc flap back
    • Raise collective slowly and smoothly, when the aircraft becomes light on skids (approximately 18-19”), pause raising the collective momentarily and prompt students eyes outside to be able to correct for any yaw with pedals or drift with cyclic once airborne
    • Continue to raise collective
    • Anticipate getting airborne at approximately 20”, keeping the nose aligned with the reference point, applying left pedal as required and left cyclic pressure to correct for tail rotor drift.
    • Continue raising collective into a stable hover at 3-5ft.
  4. Demonstrate Touch down:
    • Positioned into wind, aligned with a reference point approximately 20m away
    • Conduct hover checks.
    • Lower collective smoothly, and slowly to descend, applying right pedal to remain aligned with the reference point.
    • As the ground cushion increases the helicopter might stop descending, point this out to the student, and reaffirm smooth lowering of the collective in order to descend “through” the ground cushion.
    • Continue to lower the collective, maintaining direction with pedals, until both skids touch the ground. Ensure positive ground contact, and discourage the student from raising the collective just prior to touch down.
    • With both skids on the ground, fully lower collective, centralize cyclic and pedals.
    • Emphasize keeping hands and feet on the controls at all times




At the completion of this exercise the student must be able to maintain a safe steady hover into wind, touch down from the steady hover position, and lift off. The touchdown will be made with no lateral or aft movement and be at a rate that does not result in a hard landing, or at slow rate leading the student to chase the height up and down. The lift off will be at a controlled steady rate, maintaining balance and alignment with the reference point at all times. The student will also have a good feel of the aircraft attitude off the ground with the cyclic. The student will be fully proficient at pre lift-off and hover checks, as well as being acutely aware of the tail position in relation to the ground and surrounds at all times. The student will also be mindful of the conditions leading to dynamic rollover and the correct recovery procedure, and the principals of such will continue to be enforced in succeeding exercises to better prepare the student for solo flight.

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