Exercise 16 - Sideways and Rearwards Flight


Flight Manual - Limitations



For the student to learn:

    1. sideways and rearwards flight facing into and out of wind; and
    2. turns about the tail.


Hovering Exercises - Exercise 10


Sideways and rearwards flight and turns about the tail form an important part of helicopter operations, often in among obstructions.


    1. Lookout - obstacles
    2. Aircraft limitations

Teaching Points

    1. Point out that it is preferable to hover taxi forwards rather than sideways or rearwards if at all possible. This is because of lookout and engine failure considerations.
    2. Sideways Flight
      1. State height and ground speeds to be used in this exercise.
      2. Explain the effects of controls as follows:
        1. cyclic to control direction of movement;
        2. pedals to control aircraft heading; and
        3. collective to control height.
      3. Describe aircraft limitations as appropriate, e.g. weathercocking, flap-back, etc.
      4. Explain that it is vital to maintain a scan of the direction of movement, aircraft heading, height and instruments.
    3. Rearwards Flight
      1. State height and ground speeds to be used in this exercise. Height will generally be higher, to ensure adequate tail rotor clearance, speed will be slower.
      2. Explain the effects of controls.
      3. Describe the visual cues and point out the hazards of disorientation when attempting to look in the direction of movement.
      4. Point out that from an operational viewpoint, protracted rearward flight is seldom a requirement. If for some reason, it is necessary to move rearward over a long distance, frequent stops should be made to re-check that the area is free from obstacles.
    4. Turns About The Tail
      1. State the height and rate of turn to be used.
      2. Explain the effects of controls, pointing out the similarity to sideways movement.
      3. Describe the visual cues.



    1. Demonstrate sideways flight in both directions, facing into wind.
    2. Student practice.
    3. Demonstrate sideways flight in both directions facing 90° to the wind.
    4. Student practice.
    5. Demonstrate sideways flight in both directions facing 180° to the wind.
    6. Student Practice.
    7. Demonstrate rearwards flight facing into wind.
    8. Student practice.
    9. Demonstrate rearwards flight on various headings out of wind.
    10. Student practice.
    11. Demonstrate turns about the tail in both directions.
    12. Student practice.


    1. Make a thorough reconnaissance of the area before and during the lesson, looking particularly for bushes, fences, rocks, stumps and loose articles (FOD), as you will be operating close to the ground.
    2. References on the ground are a good aid to accuracy during this exercise. Where possible use a line feature such as a fence or runway edge to assist the student. If none exist, give thought to marking the ground with large squares or circles (hover square).
    3. Most students find this to be a tiring exercise the first time around. Keep a close eye on your student for signs of fatigue and break up the lesson with a circuit. This has the additional benefit of giving the helicopter time to cool down from the high temperatures and power settings in the hover.
    4. Show the students some hovering patterns incorporating all the hovering exercises taught thus far in the course. Before sending the student to practise this exercise solo check that the wind is suitable, it is also wise to brief that hover patterns be practised in conjunction with other exercises.