Rearward Hovering Flight may be necessary to move a helicopter to a specific area when the situation is such that forward or sideward hovering flight cannot be used. During the maneuver, maintain a constant groundspeed, altitude, and heading. Due to the limited visability behind a helicopter, it is important that you make sure that the area behind the helicopter is cleared before beginning the maneuver.
The use of ground personnel is highly recommended (if possible).


Before starting rearward hovering flight, pick out two reference points in front of, and in line with the helicopter just as with forward hovering flight. The movement of the helicopter should be such that these points remain in line.

Begin the maneuver froma normal hovering altitude by applying rearward cyclic pressure. After the movement has began, position the cyclic to maintain a SLOW groundspeed - no faster than a brisk walk. Throughout the maneuver, maintain constant groundspeed and ground track with the cyclic, a constant heading with the antitorque pedals, constant altitude with the collective, and proper rotor RPM with the throttle (governor equipped craft have that easier.)

To stop the rearward movement, apply forward cyclic and hold it until the helicopter stops. As the motion stops, return the cyclic to the neutral position (hovering position you had at the beginning). As with the other directional hovering flight modes, you can apply opposite cyclic (in this case, forward) to level the helicopter and allow it to drift to a stop (Ensure you have the distance/clearance to do this.)

Common Errors

Exaggerated movement of the cyclic resulting in overcontrolling and an uneven movement over the surface.
Failure to use the antitorque pedals properly, resulting in excessive heading changes.
Failure to maintain the desired hovering altitude.
Failure to maintain proper rotor RPM.
Failure to ensure the area is clear prior to starting the maneuver.

Besides sidewards hovering flight, rearward flight poses the most opportunity for danger due to almost no visibility to the pilot. Ensure you have looked at your area prior to the maneuver, or have ground personnel to assist you. The other danger is if overcontrolling, you can exceed your tail rotor clearance and cause ground/object contact, which can ruin anyone's day.

Return to Sideward Hovering Flight Proceed to Taxiing: Hover, Air, & Surface
Return to Flight Maneuvers
Return to Dynamic Flight

Copyright 1999-2007 Dynamic Flight, Inc. All rights reserved.
Page Last Updated on: Nov-06-2017