Exercise 13 - Autorotations 2


The Autorotative Flare

Flare Theory

Flight Manual

  • Height Velocity Chart
  • Emergency Procedures



For the student to learn how to carry out a safe landing from an autorotation.



The primary purpose of autorotations is to save crew and passengers from injury, following an in-flight engine failure or similar major emergency. In practice autorotations, there is also the need to avoid damaging the helicopter. These skills can only be acquired and maintained with practice.


    1. Pre-entry checks.
    2. Post-entry checks as appropriate to type.
    3. Aircraft performance limitations.
    4. Suitable landing area.
    5. Lookout.

Teaching Points

    1. Review the procedures in Autorotation 1 and describe the technique for landing as follows:
      1. ensure that a safe landing area is within autorotative range, check the wind velocity.
      2. Enter autorotation and select airspeed for minimum rate of descent.
      3. When certain that the landing will be in the safe area, close throttle completely, where appropriate to type.
      4. At the appropriate height above ground, commence the flare.
      5. Level the aircraft and apply collective pitch as required to reduce the rate of descent and cushion the landing. Prevent yaw throughout with pedals.
    2. Describe the post landing procedures:
      1. Ensure that the cyclic is in a neutral or forward position. Avoid moving the cyclic aft during or after touchdown.
      2. Lower the collective slowly to the bottom position. Care must be taken if the tail boom is pitching due to forward movement on the ground.
      3. Carry out pre take-off checks.
    3. Explain that where autorotational landings are considered to be unsafe due to aircraft performance, wind or density altitude conditions, power recoveries to the hover or hover taxi may be used to provide continuation in autorotation practice. Stress that power recoveries are not a substitute for autorotational landings. Autorotational landings must be mastered to the extent that the student is competent to survive an emergency when flying solo.
    4. Describe the technique for carrying out a power recovery to the hover or hover taxi as appropriate to type and local conditions:
      1. ensure that a safe landing area is within autorotational range;
      2. enter autorotation and select airspeed for minimum rate of descent;
      3. ensure that rotor RPM is in the correct range;
      4. at a safe height, rejoin the needles;
      5. at the appropriate height, flare;
      6. at the appropriate height, level the aircraft;
      7. apply power to stop sink and establish a hover/hover taxi; and prevent yaw and drift.



Air Lesson 1
    1. Demonstrate an autorotation into wind, terminating in a landing.
    2. Student practice.
    3. Demonstrate autorotations including 90° and 180° turns, terminating with a landing into wind.
    4. Student practice.
Air Lesson 2
    1. Demonstrate an autorotation terminating in a power recovery to the hover/hover taxi.
    2. Student practice.


Tips for Instructors
    1. Training accidents which involve striking the tail with the main rotor blades during an autorotational landing are very frequent. These can generally be avoided by the instructor ensuring that the cyclic is not moved after, during or immediately after touchdown.
    2. There is a need for the instructor to follow through on the controls during autorotational landings. Take care that you do not make the exercise worthless by inadvertently leading rather than following through.
    3. This exercise should only be practised in areas known to be safe and suitable for landing. Consideration should be given wherever possible to using an area where crash facilities are available.
    4. The student should practise autorotations in as many varied conditions as possible because the type of autorotative flare will vary in these conditions. Conditions include the area available, size, surface, wind and obstacle clearance.
    5. When proficiency is shown, obtain the decision from the student as to what degree and duration of flare to employ, taking into account the conditions in #4.
    6. Both full stop and run-on touchdowns should be practised and the student taught when to employ each technique.
    7. This is a stressful and demanding exercise for both student and instructor. Resist the temptation to attempt `just one more' at the end of the lesson as you will usually find the student's performance will get worse not better.
    8. Brief the student on the school's policy on autorotations to touchdown. Most schools do NOT allow them to be practised solo.