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Instrument Flying Handbook
Helicopter Attitude Instrument Flying
Straight-and-Level Flight

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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

Turn Indicator
During coordinated flight, the needle of the turn-and-slip
indicator gives an indirect indication of tile bank attitude
of the helicopter. When the needle is displaced from the
vertical position, the helicopter is turning in the direction of
the displacement. Thus, if die needle is displaced to the left,
the helicopter is turning left. Bringing the needle back to
the vertical position with the cyclic produces straight flight.
A close observation of the needle is necessary to accurately
interpret small deviations from the desired position.

Cross-check the ball of the turn-and-slip indicator to determine
if the helicopter is in coordinated flight. [Figure 6-6] If
the rotor is laterally level and pedal pressure properly
compensates for torque, the ball remains in the center. To
center the ball, level the helicopter laterally by reference to
the other bank instruments, then center the hall with pedal
trim. Torque correction pressures vary as power changes are
made. Always check the ball after such changes.

Common Errors During Straight-and-Level Fight

1. Failure to maintain altitude

2. Failure to maintain heading

3. Overcontrolling pitch and bank during corrections

4. Failure to maintain proper pedal trim

5. Failure to cross-check all available instruments

Power Control During Straight-and-Level Flight
Establishing specific power settings is accomplished through
collective pitch adjustments and throttle control, where
necessary. For reciprocating-powered helicopters, power
indication is observed on the manifold pressure gauge.
For turbine-powered helicopters, power is observed on the
torque gauge. (Although most Instrument Flight Rules (IFR)
certified helicopters are turbine powered. depictions within
this chapter uses a reciprocating powered helicopter as this
is where training is most likely conducted.)

At any given airspeed, a specific power setting determines
whether the helicopter is in level flight, in a climb, or in a
descent. For example, cruising airspeed maintained with
cruising power results in level flight. If a pilot increases the
power setting and holds the airspeed constant, the helicopter
climbs. Conversely, if the pilot decreases power and holds
the airspeed constant, the helicopter descends.

Centering of the ball indicates coordinated flight.
Figure 6-6. Centering of the ball indicates coordinated flight.