Helicopter Instrument Takeoff[PDF]

Instrument Take-off

Instrument take-off technique of helicopters ensures maximum climb within minimum distance to reach required IFR departure altitude during poor visibility conditions.

Instrument take-off2.png


For instrument take-off;

  • Airspeed indicator, altimeter and VSI are supporting instruments for pitch,
  • Heading indicator is primary instrument for bank,
  • Attitude indicator is primary instrument for pitch and supporting instrument for bank,
  • Turn-and-slip indicator is supporting instrument for bank control.

Instrument Take-off instruments.png


  • After checking all instruments for proper indications, start the takeoff by applying the collective pitch and a predetermined power setting. Add power smoothly and steadily, to gain airspeed and altitude simultaneously and to prevent settling to the ground.
Power setting during initial climb should ensure a rapid vertical climb and it can be as high as maximum continuous power.
  • Add power smoothly and steadily to gain airspeed and altitude simultaneously and to prevent settling to the ground. As power is applied and the helicopter becomes airborne, use the anti-torque pedals initially to maintain the desired heading.
  • At the same time, apply forward cyclic to begin accelerating to climbing airspeed.
During the initial acceleration, the pitch attitude of the helicopter, as read on the attitude indicator, should be one- to two-bar widths low.
During acceleration, cross-check attitude indicator, airspeed indicator and heading indicator rapidly. If the required climb speed is not established properly, too low speed might cause the helicopter to turn around it's yaw axis and too high speed might end up with reduced climb rate and loss of obstacle clearance.
  • As the airspeed increases to the appropriate climb airspeed, adjust pitch gradually to climb attitude.
  • As climb airspeed is reached, reduce power to the climb power setting and transition to a fully coordinated straight climb.
During the initial climb out, minor heading corrections should be made with pedals only until sufficient airspeed is attained to transition to fully coordinated flight.
Throughout the instrument takeoff, instrument cross-check and interpretations must be rapid and accurate and aircraft control positive and smooth.

Practical Example

Conditions and objective

Condition: Helicopter is on the ground.


Objective: Initiate instrument take-off for a 60 knots and 1000 fpm rate climb.


Simultaneously increase power to the take-off power setting and adjust pitch attitude to the approximate climb attitude.


Maintain climb power and climb attitude until helicopter reaches target airspeed.


When helicopter approaches to the target airspeed, adjust pitch and power to keep target airspeed and climb rate as necessary.


When the helicopter stabilizes at a target airspeed and vertical speed, continue cross-checking other pitch instruments.


See also


  • Instrument Flying Handbook (FAA-H-8083-15B)


  • VID 522050- Creation


  • 12:50, 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.