Running Takeoff

Purpose: To demonstrate a takeoff when a hover cannot be sustained due to high density altitude or high gross weight.

Cyclic: Pitch Attitude/Airspeed; Ground Track
Collective: Altitude; Rate of Climb
Pedals Heading (Below 50 ft AGL); Trim (Above 50 ft AGL)


  • From a stabilized 3 foot hover, note the hover power.
  • Set the helicopter down on the surface, perform pre-takeoff checks, and then clear the area.
  • Takeoff power will be 1″-2″ MAP less than power required to hover.

  • Begin by increasing the collective to get the helicopter light on the skids.
  • Neutralize any aircraft movement before continuing.
  • Slowly increase collective and apply forward cyclic to get the helicopter sliding forward on the surface.
  • Maintain heading with pedals and ground track with cyclic.
  • Continue to slowly increase collective until the modified takeoff power is achieved.
  • At the onset of effective translational lift, apply slight back pressure on the cyclic and lift the helicopter to 3-5 feet.
  • Continue to accelerate remaining at 3-5 feet until the airspeed of 40-45 KIAS is obtained and then allow the aircraft to climb.
  • At an altitude of 50 feet AGL, adjust the manifold pressure to normal takeoff power.

Note: Do not attempt this maneuver if you do not have sufficient power to hover.  If the helicopter cannot hover, its performance is unpredictable and maneuver should be aborted.


Private ACS Commercial PTS
Airspeed + 10 KTS + 10KTS
Heading + 10 Degrees + 5 Degrees
Must maintain ground track with crosswind correction if necessary
Common Errors

  1. Improper use of controls.
  2. Failure to maintain heading and/or ground track
  3. Failure to attain effective translational lift prior to attempting flight/or settling back to the surface.
  4. Use of excessive forward cyclic during surface run.
  5. Excessive gain in altitude prior to attaining climb airspeed.
  6. Failure to establish and maintain climb power and airspeed.
Safety Considerations

  1. Positive exchange of controls
  2. Guard Controls in the event the student applies abrupt control inputs
  3. Maintain awareness of surrounding environment (i.e. airport environment, aircraft, and terrain).  Special emphasis should be placed on density altitude, winds and gross weight
  4. Ensure skids are clear before takeoff roll
  5. Maintain level attitude after lift off in the event the helicopter settles to the ground.