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Instrument Flying Handbook
Helicopter Attitude Instrument Flying
Straight Descents (Constant Airspeed and Constant Rate)

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Instrument Flying
Handbook

Preface

Table of Contents

Chapter 1. Human Factors
Chapter 2. Aerodynamic Factors
Chapter 3. Flight Instruments
Chapter 4. Section I
Airplane Attitude Instrument
Flying
Using Analog Instrumentation
Chapter 4. Section II
Airplane Attitude Instrument
Flying
Using an Electronic Flight
Display

Chapter 5. Section I
Airplane Basic
Flight Maneuvers
Using Analog Instrumentation
Chapter 5. Section II
Airplane Basic
Flight Maneuvers
Using an Electronic Flight
Display

Chapter 6. Helicopter
Attitude Instrument Flying

Chapter 7. Navigation Systems
Chapter 8. The National
Airspace System

Chapter 9. The Air Traffic
Control System

Chapter 10. IFR Flight
Chapter 11. Emergency
Operations

To enter a constant rate climb, increase power to the
approximate setting for the desired rate. As power is
applied, the airspeed indicator is primary for pitch until the
vertical speed approaches the desired rate. At this time, the
VSI becomes primary for pitch. Change pitch attitude by
reference to the attitude indicator to maintain the desired
vertical speed. When the VSI becomes primary for pitch, the
airspeed indicator becomes primary for power. Primary and
supporting instruments for a stabilized constant rate climb are
illustrated! in Figure 6-13. Adjust power to maintain desired
airspeed. Pitch attitude and power corrections should be
closely coordinated. To illustrate this, if the vertical speed
is correct but the airspeed is low, add power. As power is
increased, it may he necessary to lower the pitch attitude
slightly to avoid increasing the vertical rate. Adjust the pitch
attitude smoothly to avoid overcontrolling. Small power
corrections are usually sufficient to bring the airspeed back
to the desired indication.

Level Off
The level off from a constant airspeed climb must he started
before reaching the desired altitude. Although the amount
of lead varies with the type of helicopter being flown and

pilot technique, the most important factor is vertical speed.
As a rule of thumb, use 10 percent of the vertical velocity
as the lead point. For example, if the rate of climb is 500
fpm, initiate the level off approximately 50 feet before the
desired altitude. When the proper lead altitude is reached, the
altimeter becomes primary for pitch. Adjust the pitch attitude
to the level flight attitude for that airspeed. Cross-check the
altimeter and VSI to determine when level flight has been
attained at the desired altitude. If cruise airspeed is higher
than climb airspeed, leave the power at the climb power
setting until the airspeed approaches cruise airspeed, and
then reduce it to the cruise power setting. The level off from
a constant rare climb is accomplished in the same manner as
the level off from a constant airspeed climb.

Straight Descents (Constant Airspeed and Constant Rate)

A descent may be performed at any normal airspeed the
helicopter can attain, but the airspeed must be determined
prior to entry. The technique is determined by the type of
descent, a constant airspeed or a constant rate.

Flight Instrument indications in a Stabilized Constant-Rate Climb.
Figure 6-13. Flight Instrument indications in a Stabilized Constant-Rate Climb.
 
6-12