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Improve Your Hovering

Improve Your Hovering
Having the helicopter properly maintained and setup is a vital part to any phase of helicopter flight, and I assume this has already been accomplished.  What remains are some of the advanced techniques to use when hovering. But before we get into actual hands-on hovering techniques, I think it’s important to discuss the basic principals, or theory, of hovering to first get the “big picture”. And to do this I’d like to compare hovering to flying formation in fixed wing airplanes. Most of us have seen precision formation flying at one time or another, usually in the form of flying demonstrations by various military groups such as the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds, the Navy Blue Angels or a flying group in your particular area. It almost seems as if the wing men are glued in position about the leader, never moving out of position. And this is exactly what we would like to do while hovering, only now we would be in formation with the ground, and maintaining a steady position.  But just like our helicopter in a hover, the wing men are very rarely in perfect position, but the control corrections are so small, and so timely, that they go unnoticed by those of us watching the show.  And this is the secret to being a good formation pilot – to immediately see the need for a correction, and then make a timely and smooth correction without overshooting. And if you have ever had the opportunity to see a good pilot keep his helicopter in a stationary hover it’s really a thing of beauty. It seems as if the helicopter is glued to that one point in space, and the pilot is almost effortlessly standing there hardly moving the controls. However, the truth is the helicopter is very seldom in the perfect position, and the pilot is making almost continuous minor adjustments to bring it back in position. But, his control movements are so timely, and so small, that they also go unnoticed by the normal observer.
Updated: May 14, 2013 — 8:52 AM

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