We start this manoeuvre with a HASEL check (Height, Area, Security, Engine including full carb heat, Lookout), then a radio call, and a clear warning – “Practise Engine Off Landing – Go”, using the same words each time.
Once we’re into wind at 70 knots, we lower the collective lever (with right pedal for yaw), roll the throttle off, and check up on the collective to prevent the rotors overspeeding, and add a touch of aft cyclic to achieve airspeed of 60kts.
So we’re now in a descent at about 1650feet per minute, with the rotor speed needle at 100%, the engine speed needle at idle, the wings level relative to the horizon, in trim, and looking out for drift. It’s quite a stable and manoeuvrable flight condition, as long as we are careful to keep the rotorspeed accurate. So we can put turns in (as in the video here) to shorten our travel over the ground, we can even do a 360 orbit if we have enough height.
About half way down the descent, it’s time to decide if we have judged the entry moment right, to mean that we will arrive at ground level with enough space to flare and land. If we’re running out of space, we can throw it away by rolling the throttle back on to join the needles again, push forward on the cyclic to maintain airspeed, and pull “5 minute max” power with the collective lever, to achieve a positive rate of climb.
If we decide we like what we see in the way of a landing area, we can continue the approach till we’re about 40′ above ground level, then start the flare.
It’s progressive, aiming to end up at hover height with little or no forward speed, and with the nose of the helicopter pointing in the direction of travel. Rolling on the throttle to join the needles again, we push forward on the cyclic to level the helicopter, still keeping straight with the pedals, and raise collective with left pedal for a hover.
The main feeling when learning this technique is that there is a lot going on at a very fast pace, so it can be quite intimidating. But as with so many things in a helicopter cockpit, it gets easier with practise.
For more information on learning to fly a helicopter with me, please visit TimGilbert.com