Hovering—Sideward Flight

in Basic Flight Maneuvers

Sideward hovering flight may be necessary to move the helicopter to a specific area when conditions make it impossible to use forward flight. During the maneuver, a constant groundspeed, altitude, and heading should be maintained.

Technique

Before starting sideward hovering flight, ensure the area for the hover is clear, especially at the tail rotor. Constantly monitor hover height and tail rotor clearance during all hovering maneuvers to prevent dynamic rollover or tail rotor strikes to the ground. Then, pick two points of in-line reference in the direction of sideward hovering flight to help maintain the proper ground track. These reference points should be kept in line throughout the maneuver. [Figure 9-3]

Figure 9-3. The key to hovering sideward is establishing at least two reference points that help maintain a straight track over the ground while keeping a constant heading.

Figure 9-3. The key to hovering sideward is establishing at least two reference points that help maintain a straight track over the ground while keeping a constant heading.

Begin the maneuver from a normal hovering altitude by applying cyclic toward the side in which the movement is desired. As the movement begins, return the cyclic toward the neutral position to maintain low groundspeed—no faster than a brisk walk. Throughout the maneuver, maintain a constant groundspeed and ground track with cyclic. Maintain heading, which in this maneuver is perpendicular to the ground track, with the antitorque pedals, and a constant altitude with the collective. Use the throttle to maintain the proper operating rpm. Be aware that the nose tends to weathervane into the wind. Changes in the pedal position will change the rpm and must be corrected by collective and/or throttle changes to maintain altitude.

To stop the sideward movement, apply cyclic pressure in the direction opposite to that of movement and hold it until the helicopter stops. As motion stops, return the cyclic to the neutral position to prevent movement in the opposite direction. Applying sufficient opposite cyclic pressure to level the helicopter may also stop sideward movement. The helicopter then drifts to a stop.

Common Errors

  1. Exaggerated movement of the cyclic, resulting in overcontrolling and erratic movement over the surface.
  2. Failure to use proper antitorque pedal control, resulting in excessive heading change.
  3. Failure to maintain desired hovering altitude.
  4. Failure to maintain proper rpm.
  5. Failure to make sure the area is clear prior to starting the maneuver.
51l0aN891BL._SX396_BO1,204,203,200_Are you ready to start your journey learning to fly helicopters? Learning to Fly Helicopters, Second Edition, provides details on the technical and practical aspects of rotarywing flight. Written in a conversational style, the book demystifies the art and science of helicopter flying.


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