Helicopter IFR Takeoff Minimums[PDF]


IFR Take-off minima calculation for helicopters depends on several factors and is usually overlooked by pilots.

Instrument take-off2.png

It is possible with helicopters to take-off even with zero visibility by using Helicopter Instrument Takeoff technique. But considering the risks, this maneuver is not recommended unless necessary.


Aerodrome/Heliport Operationg Minima

Depending whether you are taking of from an aerodrome or heliport, pilots have to comply with the specified Aerodrome operating minima or heliport operating minima.

National Regulations

Some national regulations require helicopters to operate above a specified minimum.

For example in FAA countries a pilot operating under Part 91, has no takeoff minimums with which to comply other than the requirement to attain Vmini before entering instrument meteorological conditions. For most helicopters this requires 1/2 nautical mile (NM) and an altitude of 100 feet.

Performance Requirements

Some aerodrome/heliport operating minimas or departure procedures require helicopters to achieve specific climb performance in VMC conditions. Some national regulations also require helicopters to gain Vmini before entering IMC conditions.

When there is a special performance requirement, pilots are responsible to calculate the required take-off minima according to their performance.

Approach Minima Of Departure Aerodrome/Heliport

The approach minima of a departure aerodrome/heliport give the answer to the question "Can I turn back to and land at my departure aerodrome/heliport if something happens after take-off which requires an immediate landing?"

If there is no take-off alternate and landing minima at the departure aerodrome/heliport is below take-off minima, the current ceiling and visibility of the departure aerodrome/heliport should be higher than the landing minima.

Take-off Alternate Aerodrome

The answer to the question "Where to land after take-off if something happens which requires an immediate landing and departure aerodrome/heliport ceiling and visibility is below the approach minima?" is the take-off alternate.

When the ceiling and visibility of the departure aerodrome/heliport is below the approach minima, a take-off alternate should be selected.

As a result, pilots need to be aware that if the ceiling and visibility of the departure aerodrome/heliport is below approach minima and there is no take-off alternate, take-off needs to be postponed.

See also


  • None


  • VID 522050 - Creation


  • 12:38, 23 February 2021


  • This documentation is copyrighted as part of the intellectual property of the International Virtual Aviation Organisation.


  • The content of this documentation is intended for aviation simulation only and must not be used for real aviation operations.