Helicopter Normal Takeoff From the Surface

Normal takeoff from the surface is used to move the helicopter from a position on the surface into effective translational lift and a normal climb using a minimum amount of power. If the surface is dusty or covered with loose snow, this technique provides the most favorable visibility conditions and reduces the possibility of debris being ingested by the engine.


Place the helicopter in a stationary position on the surface. Lower the collective to the full down position, and reduce the rpm below operating rpm. Visually clear the area and select terrain features or other objects to aid in maintaining the desired track during takeoff and climb out. Increase the throttle to the proper rpm, and raise the collective slowly until the helicopter is light on the skids. Hesitate momentarily and adjust the cyclic and antitorque pedals, as necessary, to prevent any surface movement. Continue to apply upward collective. As the helicopter leaves the ground, use the cyclic, as necessary, to begin forward movement as altitude is gained. Continue to accelerate, and as effective translational lift is attained, the helicopter begins to climb. Adjust attitude and power, if necessary, to climb in the same manner as a takeoff from a hover. A second less efficient but acceptable technique is to attempt a vertical takeoff to evaluate if power or lift is sufficient to clear obstructions. This allows the helicopter to be returned to the takeoff position if required.

Common Errors

  1. Departing the surface in an attitude that is too noselow. This situation requires the use of excessive power to initiate a climb.
  2. Using excessive power combined with a level attitude, which causes a vertical climb, unless needed for obstructions and landing considerations.
  3. Application of the collective that is too abrupt when departing the surface, causing rpm and heading control errors.

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