Helicopter flight controls introduction[PDF]


The flight controls are the means by which a pilot controls the direction and attitude of a helicopter during the entire flight.

Changes to the helicopter flight control system transmit mechanically to the main and tail rotors, producing aerodynamic effects on the main rotor blades and tail rotor blades which make the helicopter move in a deliberate way.

Helicopter main flight controls

A typical helicopter has usually three main flight controls:

  1. Collective Pitch Control
  2. Cyclic Pitch Control
  3. Antitorque Pedals

Helicopters flight controls.png
Helicopter flight controls differ drastically from those found in fixed-wing aircraft. The cyclic pitch control and the antitorque pedals look like an airplane's center stick and rudder pedals but they are not used in the same way.

In Practice

Flight control Actions
The collective pitch To Gain/Lose altitude and speed
The cyclic pitch To turn and to gain/lose speed
The antitorque pedals To turn during an hover and to correct the path during the turns

During a flight, all the flight controls are used constantly by the pilot to correct actions induced by the others.
It's the law of action-reaction: any actions on a flight control produce immediately an aerodynamic reaction and the pilot has to correct this reaction by using the other flight controls.
That's why both hands and both feet are used by the pilot during the entire flight: to make little corrections resulting from his actions on one of the three main flight controls

See also


  • None


  • VID 514786 - Creation
  • VID 200696 - Update


  • 12:13, 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.