Sideward Hovering flight may be necessary to move the helicopter to a specific area when conditions make it impossible to use forward flight. During the maneuver, a constant groundspeed, altitude, and heading should be maintained.


Before starting sideward hovering flight, make sure the area you are going to hover into is clear. Then pick two points of reference in a line in th edirection of sideward hovering flight to assist you in maintaining the proper ground track. These reference points should be kept in line throughout the maneuver Please refer to Figure 9-4 below.

Begin the maneuver from a normal hovering altitude by applying cyclic towards the side in which the movement is desired. As the movement begins, return the cyclic to the neutral position to keep the groundspeed at a slow rate - No faster than a brisk walk.

Throughout the maneuver, maintain a constant groundspeed and ground track with cyclic. Maintain heading, which will be perpendicular to the ground track in this instance, with the antitorque pedals, and a constant altitude with collective. Use throttle to hold rotor RPM within proper operating range. (Again, governor users have it easy.)

To stop the sideward movement, apply cyclic pressure in the opposite direction of movement and hold it until the helicopter stops. As motion stops, return the cyclic to the neutral position (hovering position you had at the beginning) to prevent movement in the opposite direction.

Applying sufficient cyclic pressure to level the helicopter and allowing the helicopter to drift to a stop is an alternative method, if one has room to allow for the drift.

Common Errors

Exaggerated movement of the cyclic, resulting in overcontrolling and erratic movement on the surface.
Failure to use proper antitorque pedal control, 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.

Sidewards hovering flight should be approached like a confined area, ensure the area you are going into is clear, for you cannot see certain areas depending upon direction. Take it slow, for the worst thing to deal with is a power failure while moving sideways, easily a contributor to a dynamic rollover mishap.

Return to Forward Hovering flight Proceed to Rearward Hovering Flight
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Page Last Updated on: Nov-06-2017