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Instrument Flying Handbook
Helicopter Attitude Instrument Flying
Unusual Attitudes and Emergencies

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Instrument Flying


Table of Contents

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

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

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

Business Phone Service in The Cloud

Unusual Attitudes

Any maneuver not required for normal helicopter instrument
flight is an unusual attitude and may be caused by any one
or combination of factors such as turbulence, disorientation,
instrument failure, confusion, and preoccupation with flight deck
duties, carelessness in cross-checking, errors in instrument
interpretation, or lack of proficiency in aircraft control. Due
to the instability characteristics of the helicopter, unusual
attitudes can be extremely critical. As soon as an unusual
attitude is detected, make a recovery to straight-and-level
flight as soon as possible with a minimum loss of altitude.

To recover from an unusual attitude, a pilot should correct
bank-and-pitch attitude and adjust power as necessary. All
components are changed almost simultaneously, with little
lead of one over the other. A pilot must be able to perform
this task with and without the attitude indicator. If the
helicopter is in a climbing or descending turn, adjust bank,
pitch, and power. The bank attitude should be corrected
by referring to the turn-and-slip indicator and attitude
indicator, Pitch attitude should be corrected reference to
the altimeter, airspeed indicator, VSI, and attitude indicator.
Adjust power by referring to the airspeed indicator and
manifold pressure.

Since the displacement of the controls used in recovery from
unusual attitudes may be greater than those used for normal
flight, make careful adjustments as straight-and-level flight
is approached. Cross-check the other instruments closely to
avoid overcontrolling.

Common Errors During Unusual Attitude

1. Failure to make proper pitch correction

2. Failure to make proper bank correction

3. Failure to make proper power correction

4. Overcontrolling pitch and/or bank attitude

5. Overcontrolling power

6. Excessive loss of altitude


Emergencies during instrument flight are handled similarly
to those occurring during VFR flight. A thorough knowledge
of the helicopter and its systems, as well as good aeronautical
knowledge and judgment, is the best preparation for
emergency situations. Safe operations begin with preflight
planning and a thorough preflight inspection. Plan a route
of flight to include adequate landing sites in the event of an
emergency landing. Make sure all resources., such as maps,
publications, flashlights, and fire extinguishers are readily
available for use in an emergency.

Flight Instrument indications for a Stabilized Left Climbing Turn at a Constant Airspeed.
Figure 6-15. Flight Instrument indications for a Stabilized Left Climbing Turn at a Constant Airspeed.