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Instrument Flying Handbook
Helicopter Attitude Instrument Flying
Instrument Takeoff

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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

During any emergency, first fly the aircraft. This means ensure
the helicopter is under control, and determine emergency
landing sites. Then perform the emergency checklist memory
items, followed by items written in the rotorcraft flight
manual (RFM). When all these items are under control, notify
air traffic control (ATC). Declare any emergency on the last
assigned ATC frequency. If one was not issued, transmit on
the emergency frequency 121.5. Set the transponder to the
emergency squawk code 7700. This code triggers an alarm
or special indicator in radar facilities.

When experiencing most in-flight emergencies, such as low
fuel or complete electrical failure, land as soon as possible
In the event of an electrical fire, turn off all nonessential
equipment and land immediately. Some essential electrical
instruments, such as the attitude indicator, may be required
for a sale landing. A navigation radio failure may not require
an immediate landing if the flight can continue safely. In
this case, land as soon as practical. ATC may be able to
provide vectors to a safe landing area. For specific details
on what to do during an emergency, refer to the RPM for
the helicopter.

Both straight-ahead and turning autorotation should be
practice by reference to instruments. This training ensures
prompt corrective action to maintain positive aircraft control
in the event of an engine failure.

To enter autorotation, reduce collective pitch smoothly to
maintain a safe rotor RPM and apply pedal trim to keep the
ball of the turn-and-slip indicator centered. The pitch attitude
of the helicopter should be approximately level as shown by
the attitude indicator. The airspeed indicator is the primary
pitch instrument and should be adjusted to the recommended
autorotation speed. The heading indicator is primary for bank
in a straight-ahead autorotation. In a turning autorotation, a
standard rate turn should he maintained by reference to the
needle of the turn-and-slip indicator.

Common Errors During Autorotation

1. Uncoordinated entry due to improper pedal trim

2. Poor airspeed control due to improper pitch attitude

3. Poor heading control in straight-ahead autorotation

4. Failure to maintain proper rotor RPM

5. Failure to maintain a standard rate turn during turning

Servo Failure
Most helicopters certified for single-pilot IFR flight are required
to have autopilots, which greatly reduces pilot workload. If an
autopilot servo fails, however, resume manual control of the
helicopter. The amount of workload increase depends on which
servo fails. If a cyclic servo fails, a pilot may want to land
immediately because the workload increases tremendously. If
an antitorque or collective servo fails, continuing to the next
suitable landing site might be possible.

Instrument Takeoff

The procedures and techniques described here should he
modified as necessary to conform to those set forth in the
operating instructions for the particular helicopter being
flown. During training, instrument takeoffs should not
be attempted except when receiving instruction from an
appropriately certificated, proficient flight instructor pilot.

Adjust the miniature aircraft in the attitude indicator, as
appropriate, for the aircraft being flown. After the helicopter
is aligned with the runway or takeoff pad, to prevent forward
movement of a helicopter equipped with a wheel-type landing
gear, set the parking brakes or apply the toe brakes. If the
parking brake is used, it must he unlocked after the takeoff
has been completed. Apply sufficient friction to the collective
pitch control to minimize over controlling and to prevent
creeping. Excessive friction should be avoided since it limits
collective pitch movement.

After checking all instruments for proper indications, start
the takeoff by applying collective pitch and a predetermined
power setting. Add power smoothly and steadily to gain
airspeed and altitude simultaneously and to prevent settling to
the ground. As power is applied and the helicopter becomes
airborne, use the antitorque pedals initially to maintain the
desired heading. At the same time, apply forward cyclic to
begin accelerating to climbing airspeed. During the initial
acceleration, the pitch attitude of the helicopter, as read on the
attitude indicator, should be one- to two-bar widths low. The
primary and supporting instruments after becoming airborne
are illustrated in Figure 6-16. As the airspeed increases to the
appropriate climb airspeed, adjust pitch gradually to climb
attitude. As climb airspeed is reached, reduce power to the
climb power setting and transition to a fully coordinated
straight climb.

During the initial climb out, minor heading corrections
should be made with pedals only until sufficient airspeed is
attained to transition to fully coordinated flight. Throughout
the instrument takeoff, instrument cross-check and
interpretations must be rapid and accurate, and aircraft control
positive and smooth.