How to fly a helicopter
Have you Ever dreamed of piloting a helicopter? Flying a helicopter, requires a different set of skills than flying an airplane, although there are some similarities. While an airplane depends on forward motion to move air over the wings and create lift, a helicopter creates lift using rotating blades. You need both hands and both feet to fly a helicopter.
Familiarize yourself with the helicopter components and controls. Read your individual aircraft’s operating handbook.
Operate the collective control with your left hand.
Operate the cyclic control with your right hand. The cyclic is similar to a joystick, but sensitive, so make very small movements.
Operate the tail rotor pedals with your feet. These two pedals (or anti-torque pedals) control the direction in which the helicopter is pointing, more or less having the same effect as the yaw pedals in an airplane.
First, open the throttle slowly until you reach proper operating RPM.
Pull the collective gradually up. As collective pitch increases, push the left pedal (right pedal for clockwise rotating main rotors). Continue pulling on the collective and depressing the left pedal. Adjust the pedal if the aircraft is turning to the left or right.
The helicopter will leave the ground and you’ll be able to use the cyclic. As you continue to pull the collective and depress the pedal, adjust the cyclic to level the aircraft as you take off. Push forward slightly to start moving forward.
As the helicopter transitions from vertical to forward motion, it will shudder. Push the cyclic forward a little more to make sure you keep going forward. The phenomenon that causes the shudder is called effective translational lift (ETL).
As you progress through ETL, reduce the collective lever and apply less pressure to the pedal. Push the cyclic forward to avoid an abrupt nose high attitude and reduction in forward speed.
Once you’ve taken off, slightly release forward cyclic pressure. The aircraft will then begin to climb and gain airspeed. From this point, the pedals are primarily used to trim the aircraft. Most maneuvers will only require a combination of the cyclic and collective controls.
Hover by finding a balance between the collective, cyclic and tail rotor controls.
Climb and descend using speeds according to your pilot operating handbook. This will vary depending on terrain. Maintain 15-20 knots during a steep climb. Carefully increase collective and be sure not to exceed the yellow limit of the torque gauge.
Land, taking care to always have your landing target in sight, normally slightly to your right (pilots side). This may mean that you have adjust your trim so you are turned slightly to one side as you approach.