Exercise 28 - Sling Load Operations


Flight Manual

  • Limitations
  • Weight and balance

AIP AIR 1-19 - Marshalling Signals

Air Regulations - Sections 508 and 534



For the student to learn safe sling load operations.


Slinging forms a significant part of commercial helicopter operations. Properly managed, it is a safe and effective method of carrying loads.


  • Lookout
  • Limitations - engine and weight
  • Route selection

Teaching Points

    1. Show and describe the cargo hook fitted to the aircraft together with the systems of arming, loading, release, emergency manual release, and emergency external release.
    2. Show and describe the nets, straps, barrel hooks and any specialized equipment together with the inspections for suitability and serviceability.
    3. Describe in detail, the procedures in sling load operations including:
      1. pre-flight checks of the equipment;
      2. briefing of ground crew;
      3. hooking-up, with and without ground crew;
      4. in-flight procedures, including emergencies; and
      5. release, with and without ground crew.
    4. Students experiencing serious difficulty in maintaining control, should jettison the load. For this reason, routes should be selected over open country to minimize the danger of persons or property.
    5. Explain that loads that are large in size relative to their weight can cause handling problems in forward flight. Describe the symptoms of load oscillation and how they can often be anticipated and stabilized before hook-up. Explain that should oscillations occur in flight, they can often be cured by either a reduction in airspeed, or by making gentle balanced turns.
    6. If, despite all efforts to prevent or cure oscillations, they start to hazard the safety of the aircraft and crew, the pilot should be mentally and physically prepared to jettison the load before control is lost. This should also be an immediate reaction to an engine failure or similar in-flight emergency.
    7. Explain the advantages of a well sited mirror.
    8. Point out the need for higher hover heights and modified approach and departure paths to maintain obstacle clearance, and the resultant extra power required.
    1. Demonstrate pick-up and release procedures with ground crew.
    2. Student practice.
    3. Demonstrate emergency procedures including hydraulics out, use of manual release and external release by ground crew.
    4. Student practice.
    5. Demonstrate enroute procedures that minimize danger to persons and property on the ground.
    6. Student practice.
    7. Demonstrate slinging difficult loads and oscillations dampening procedures.
    8. Student practice.
    9. Demonstrate pick-up and release procedures without ground crew.
    10. Student practice.


    1. Students will sometimes be apprehensive of slinging and care must be taken not to overstress the problems or difficulties associated with this type of operation.
    2. It is of the utmost importance that the training helicopter be fitted with a mirror on the instructor's side of the aircraft, in addition to the student's mirror. Ensure the student knows how to adjust the mirror, and how to position it for short and long loads.
    3. Impress upon the student to always use a swivel between the helicopter and the load.
    4. If possible use students, under supervision, as ground crew to give them experience of both sides of the operation, be sure to brief them on static electricity.
    5. Describe how to plan ahead to obtain the best fuel load.
    6. Explain the importance of keeping the slinging area clear of debris, such as hats, tarps, boards, etc.
    7. Demonstrate a gradual increase in airspeed up to the highest speed for a particular load, then reduce speed slightly as a safety margin. Make sure that the student resists the urge for more speed, as beyond that point is usually where the oscillations develop.
    8. Demonstrate as many different types of load using as many types of slinging equipment as possible.