Setdowns, or Landing from a Hover is a maneuver simply put that one uses to land (typically a level surface) from the hover.


From a hover, begin a descent by applying a slow but very gradual downward pressure on the collective. This smooth application of collective pitch should be such that a constant rate of descent is maintained to the surface. As the landing gear (skids or wheels) descend within a few inches of the surface, ground effect becomes very noticable and the helicopter tends to stop its descent. At this point, it may be necessary to further increase the collective input by a slight amount to overcome this tendancy and maintain the constant rate of descent.

When the landing gear touches the surface (skids or wheels), lower the collective smoothly and firmly to the full down position, adjusting the antitorque pedals to maintain heading, and adjusting throttle to maintain proper rotor RPM.

Throughout the descent and until the time the landing gear is firmly on the surface and the collective is in the full down position; make necessary corrections with the antitorque pedals to maintain a constant heading, and necessary corrections with cyclic to maintain a level attitude over the surface (adjusting for wind and loading of the helicopter) and preventing movement over the surface itself.

Common Errors

Overcontrolling the cyclic during the descent, resulting in movement over the surface on ground contact.
Failing to use collective pitch smoothly.
Applying aft cyclic prior to or upon touchdown.
Failing to reduce collective smoothly and positively to the full down position upon contact with the surface.
Failing to maintain a constant rate of descent.
Failing to maintain proper rotor RPM.

The key here is to select the same referance point as in the liftoff to a hover, and use periferal vision to detect slight changes in attitude. Slowly beginning the rate of descent, you then just wait for contact, then lower fully. Landing is the thing the passengers remember the most, even if the flight was lousy, a great landing leaves a terrific impression!


When the flight is terminated, park the helicopter where it will not interfere with other aircraft and not be a hazard to people during shutdown. Rotor downwash can cause damage to other aircraft in close proximity, and spectators may not realize the danger, see the rotors turning, and could be exposed to hazardous noise levels. Passengers in the helicopter should remain in their seats with seat belts secured until the rotors have stopped turning.

During the shutdown and postflight inspection, follow the manufacturer's checklist for that particular helicopter. Any discreptancies found should be noted and, if necessary, reported to maintenance personnel.

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Page Last Updated on: Nov-06-2017