Pick Up

Purpose: To transition from the surface to a stabilized 3-5 feet hover.


Cyclic: Aircraft Position
Collective: Hovering Height
Pedals Heading


With the collective in the full down position, the cyclic centered, and pedals neutral, complete a pre-take off check.

No Warning lights or horns

Engine and rotor tachometers are in the green

All operating gauges in the green

Sufficient fuel for the operation (quantity and time)

Clear the aircraft left and right.  Select a reference point approximately 50 feet in front of the aircraft.  The pickup will be conducted with a 2 step process.

Step 1)

  • Slowly start to increase collective.
  • A small amount of left pedal will normally be required to compensate for increased amount of torque.
  • As aircraft becomes light on skids, neutralize all movements with the cyclic and pedals.
  • Extreme caution must be use to avoid any rearward or lateral movement since this can cause an immediate rollover.

Step 2)

  • Continue to smoothly and slowly increase the collective while maintaining heading with pedals.
  • The aircraft should climb smoothly and slowly off the surface.
  • Once the aircraft leaves the surface, you must
    1. maintain heading with pedals
    2. position over the surface with cyclic
    3. hover height with collective
  • Once aircraft is established in a 3-5 foot hover, perform a hover check.
    1. No warning lights or horns
    2. Engine and rotor tachometers are in the green
    3. All operating gauges in the green
    4. Note hover power

Performance Standards Private ACS Commercial PTS
Altitude + 2 Feet + 1 Foot
Heading + 10 Degrees + 5 Degrees
RPM + 2% + 2%
Position over a Desired Point + 4 Feet + 2 Feet
Common Errors

  1. Failure to ascend at the suitable rate
  2. Failure to recognize and correct for drift
  3. Improper heading control
  4. Terminating at an improper altitude
Safety Considerations

  1. Positive exchange of controls
  2. Guard Controls in the event the student applies abrupt control inputs
  3. Do not let aircraft drift or slide
  4. Ensure skids are clear of debris, tie-downs, and other obstructions
  5. Student maintains eyes outside of the aircraft.