How to Land a Helicopter


One of the greatest conveniences of flying a helicopter is the ability to land nearly anywhere. Unlike airplanes, helicopters do not need a runway or a significant amount of space to land. However, landing a helicopter does take intense focusing, control and awareness of your surroundings.

  • Descend to about 900 feet above ground level approximately 2 miles from your landing zone, and lower the collective lever slightly to set up a descent. Pull back on the cyclic stick to decrease forward speed.

  • Coordinate both the collective lever and cyclic stick for a constant descent and decrease in ground speed. Your goal is to stop the helicopter with zero forward speed and zero descent at approximately 3 feet above ground level.

  • Slow your ground speed from cruising speed to 80 knots. Set the helicopter into a gradual descent of 500 feet per minute 1 mile from your landing zone. Lower the collective lever, pull back on the cyclic and input the foot pedal that needs to keep the helicopter flying in a straight line.

  • Decrease cyclic input gradually to continually lower your ground speed. Increase the collective angle or pitch as you lower your ground speed to keep from descending too fast. Maintain a constant glide angle by decreasing your ground speed and increasing power from your engine. Give foot pedal inputs constantly to keep your tail rotor from swinging in the opposite direction of your inputs.

  • Confirm your ground speed is around 20 knots when you are 100 yards from your landing zone. Your groundspeed should be about 10 knots when you are 50 years from your landing zone.

  • Bring the helicopter into a hover when you are 3 feet directly above your landing zone. Lower the collective slightly to let the helicopter settle to the ground.

  • Maintain control by applying cyclic or foot pedal controls to keep the helicopter parallel with your landing zone without forward movement.

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