Straight in Autorotation (With Power Recovery)

Purpose: To demonstrate safely maneuvering the aircraft in the event of a power loss or other emergency requiring autorotation.

Note: Prior to performing this maneuver in flight, the pilots will become familiar with Safety Notices SN-27 and SN-38.

Cyclic: Pitch Attitude/Airspeed; Ground Track
Collective: Rotor RPM
Throttle: (instructor ONLY)  Engine RPM
Pedals Trim (Above 50 ft AGL); Heading (Below 50 ft AGL)


The Entry:

Note: The entry should be verbalized by stating “Eyes outside, Entering auto now”.

  • Start with level flight, 70 KIAS, 700 feet AGL, into the wind
  • Slowly lower the collective full down.
  • Coordinate the collective movement with right pedal for trim and aft cyclic to maintain a 70 KT attitude.

Down, Right, AFT on the entry

  • Instructor reduces the throttle to split the needles.
  • Once autorotation is established, begin scan

RPM, Trim, Airspeed

The Glide:

  • After descent has been established, maintain a 70KT attitude throughout the glide.
  • The pilot’s eyes should be primarily outside during this phase of the autorotation.

Eyes Outside Maintain a 70KT attitude

Lowering Collective= Raises RPM

Raising Collective=Lowers RPM

Aft Cyclic=Raises RPM

Forward Cyclic=Lowers RPM

  • Avoid looking straight down in front of the aircraft.

Note: As the aircraft descends through 300 feet AGL, make an immediate power recovery if the following conditions do not exist:

  1. Rotor RPM>98% and stabilized
  2. Airspeed >60 KIAS and stabilized
  3. Rate of descent stabilized no greater than 1700fpm
  4. Aircraft aligned with the touchdown point

The Flare/Power Recovery:

  • At approximately 40 feet AGL, begin the flare with aft cyclic to reduce forward airspeed and rate of descent.
  • The flare will vary depending on wind conditions and gross weight.
  • The flare should gradually be increased so that the groundspeed and rate of descent are significantly decreased.
  • Too aggressive flare will produce ballooning- causing the helicopter to climb and/or excessive RPM

Gentle Flare, More Flare, Flare More Until Feel Sink

  • Approximately half way through the flare the instructor will increase throttle to rejoin needles.

  • Level:
  • At approximately 8-10 feet AGL, begin to level the helicopter with forward cyclic.
  • Just prior to achieving a level attitude, increase the collective while maintaining heading with left pedal.
  • Terminate maneuver with a stable hover.

Performance Standards: Private ACS Commercial PTS
Airspeed + 5 KTS + 5 KTS
RPM Normal Limits Normal Limits
Predetermined Spot + 200 Feet + 100 Feet
Common Errors

  1. Uncoordinated use of flight controls during autorotation entry and descent.
  2. Undershooting/overshooting the intended landing spot.
  3. Uncoordinated use of flight controls during power recovery.
  4. Improper engine and RPM control.
  5. Improper attitude during entry/descent.
  6. Improper judgement and technique during autorotation.
  7. Improper scanning technique throughout the glide.
Safety Considerations

  1. Positive exchange of controls
  2. Guard Controls in the event the student applies abrupt control inputs
  3. Special focus on RPM management throughout all stages of this maneuver
  4. Maintain awareness of surrounding environment (i.e. airport environment, aircraft, and terrain).  Special emphasis should be placed on density altitude, winds and gross weight
  5. Immediately initiate a power recovery if RPM and/or airspeed are out of limits
  6. Be prepared to initiate a power recovery if a feeling of “sinking” occurs prior to the flare
  7. When at all possible, the intended landing spot should be in the middle of a runway or taxiway
  8. If it doesn’t feel right, go-around