Engine out? Better know how to do an auto!

Apr 17, 2012 4 Comments by

Every helicopter pilot should be proficient in performing autorotations to cope with engine or motor failure. They are demanding and should be practiced periodically. The model should have sufficient pitch range before you attempt this maneuver. A steady breeze of about 10mph will make initial attempts easier. The engine should be running at a fast idle with the throttle hold engaged.

1. Fly the model in slow forward flight at high altitude and into the wind inthe normal model or with idle-up turned off.

2. Before reaching the center of the field, reduce the throttle to idle. When the the throttle is at idle, engage the throttle-hold switch and reduce the collective.

3. Input a slight amount of forward cyclic and allow the helicopter to descend. To steepen the descent, apply more negative collective. During the descent, make sure sufficient negative pitch is maintained to keep the rotor blades turning. The model should fly past you during the descent.

4. At a height of about 15 feet, begin a flare and reduce the forward motion by adding aft cyclic while maintaining negative pitch. The forward motion will slow and the model will still descend with its tail low.

5. At about 2 feet above the ground, bring the helicopter back to level with forward cyclic and start increasing the collective pitch. Modulate the collective so that a smooth touchdown results with little or no forward motion.

During your first attempts, disengage the throttle hold at a sufficient altitude so you can recover and resume forward flight. As you continue to practice, disengage the throttle hold switch at lower and lower altitudes.

Before bringing your first autorotation to the ground, practice from hovering flight. Engage the throttle-hold switch during the hover and practice landing using the collective.


Helicopter Flight School, Helicopters

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4 Responses to “Engine out? Better know how to do an auto!”

  1. Robert Lundstrom says:

    I’m not sure what the throttle hold switch is, not having a 3D helicopter. Would you provide an explanation?

    • Debra Cleghorn says:

      It’s a switch (usually a toggle switch at the top) of a helicopter transmitter. It lets you quickly go to low throttle or idle, and it’s also a good safety feature that prevents your heli from starting up at high speed if you bump the throttle.

  2. Brian Phillips says:

    Not shure how to bring the engine to idle without going to throtle hold!
    On my setup when in normal mode my engine Idles at -10 degres not a good way to enter an auto?

  3. keith says:

    The hold switch is setup a little differently on each brand of radio
    When I am at 0deg pitch my hold switch kills power. Approximately 50% on cyclic. So now I can do anything on cyclic without any throttle action. Hope that made sense.. good luck and have fun. Happy new year

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