Helicopter Instrument Unusual Attitudes[PDF]

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Any manoeuvre not required for normal helicopter instrument flying is an unusual attitude and may be caused by any one or a combination of factors, such as turbulence, disorientation, instrument failure, confusion, preoccupation with flight deck duties, carelessness in cross-checking, errors in instrument interpretation, or lack of proficiency in aircraft control.

Abnormal situation.png

As soon as an unusual attitude is detected, make a recovery to straight-and-level flight as soon as possible with a minimum loss of altitude.

To recover from an unusual attitude, a pilot should correct bank-and-pitch attitude and adjust power as necessary.

All components are changed almost simultaneously, with little lead of one over the other.

If the helicopter is in a climbing or descending turn, adjust bank, pitch and power.

  • The bank attitude should be corrected by referring to the turn-and-slip indicator and attitude indicator
  • Pitch attitude should be corrected by reference to the altimeter, airspeed indicator, VSI and attitude indicator.
  • Adjust power by referring to the airspeed indicator and manifold pressure/torque



Abnormal Situation 2.png

Aircraft is in a banked left and pitched down attitude. VSI shows a high rate of descent and turn and slip indicator confirms the situation.

In case of a delayed corrective action air speed will increase dangerously.

Corrective Actions

1- Adjust Bank Attitude

Abnormal Sitation Example- 1.png

First action is applying enough right cyclic to correct bank attitude and enough left rudder to ensure trimmed flight.

Reference instruments are turn-and-slip indicator and attitude indicator.

2- Adjust Pitch Attitude

Abnormal Sitation Example- 2.png

Second action is applying enough back cyclic to correct pitch down attitude.

Cyclic application should be in coordination with VSI to ensure a zero climb and descent attitude.
Reference instruments are altimeter, airspeed indicator, VSI and attitude indicator.

3- Adjust Power

Abnormal Sitation Example- 3.png.png

Last action is to adjust power to ensure a level flight at desired airspeed and altitude.

Reference instruments are airspeed indicator and manifold pressure/torque

4- Straight and Level Flight

IFR level flight .png

Now the aircraft is in Straight and Level Flight.

See also

  • None


  • 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.