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4 Answers

Helicopter ATP – steep turns

Asked by: 624 views Helicopter

so I'm looking through the PTS for the helicopter ATP checkride.  There is a maneuver called Steep turns.  I've done steep turns in an airplane for my commercial ticket but never had to do them in a helicopter.  What I'm looking for is guidance on how this maneuver is performed in a helicopter.  the PTS lists a reference called AC 61-27 and FSB report.  I cannot find an AC-61-27 nor what a FSB report would be.  The helicopter flying manual doesn't talk about it either.  as a matter of fact I can find zero references anywhere that discuss doing steep turns in a helicopter.   Anyone out there done the Helo ATP or instructors who can add some more info to this.  

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4 Answers



  1. Kris Kortokrax on May 20, 2017

    It pays to be a pack rat. I have a copy of AC 61-27C published in 1980. It is the old Instrument Flying Handbook. It contains the following description of steep turns in a helicopter:

    __________________________________________________________________
    Any turn greater than a standard rate is considered a steep turn. In helicopters, steep turns should be limited to one and a half times a standard rate turn as indicated by the turn coordinator. A steep turn is seldom necessary or advisable in instrument weather conditions, but it is an excellent maneuver to increase your ability to react quickly and smoothly to rapid changes of attitude.
    Regardless of the bank angle used, the entry and recovery techniques are the same as for any turn. You will find it more difficult to control pitch because of the greater decrease of vertical lift as the bank increases. With some attitude indicators, precession while in a steep turn adds to the difficulty of maintaining the desired attitude. There is a tendency to lose altitude and/or airspeed in steep turns because of the decrease of vertical lift. Therefore, to maintain a constant altitude and airspeed, additional power will be required. You should not initiate a correction, however, until the instruments indicate the need for a correction.
    Refer to the attitude indicator when making a correction even though precession of the instrument is evident. Note the need for a correction on the altimeter and vertical speed indicator, check the indications on the attitude indicator, and make the necessary change. After you have made this change, again check the altimeter and vertical speed indicator to determine whether or not the correction was adequate. The primary and supporting instruments for a stabilized steep turn are illustrated in Figure 6-12. (Shows A/S as primary power, altimeter as primary pitch, T/C as primary bank; A/I as supporting pitch and bank, VSI as supporting pitch and Torque/MP as supporting power).
    The recovery should be smooth with a normal rate of roll-out. As the helicopter rolls out of the turn, vertical lift will increase and there will be a tendency to climb. Also, there will be a tendency for the airspeed to increase. Necessary corrections should be made as indicated by the instruments.
    __________________________________________________________________

    The ATP PTS calls for 30 degrees plus or minus 5 degrees. It’s not really a big deal. Any competent helicopter instrument instructor should be able to teach this maneuver, as it is a maneuver required in the CFII PTS.

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  2. Mike O on May 20, 2017

    Thanks for that info. The helicopter ATP PTS doesn’t actually call for an exact degree to use, it simply states to select an altitude recommended by the manufacturer or training syllabus, establish a recommended entry airspeed, roll into a coordinated turn with a bank angle not to exceed 30 degrees, then maintain that angle + or – 5 degrees.

    since I have never done a steep turn in a helicopter (at least not that I remember anyway, I got my instrument ticket in helicopters in 1998) and now I’m trying to get my ATP I was trying to figure out what is the “recommended altitude” and “entry airspeed” for this maneuver. I can’t find a single document that says those things.

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  3. Kris Kortokrax on May 20, 2017

    Since we do settling with power at 1,500 AGL, I would think that would be a safe altitude to use. As far as airspeed, we don’t have a maneuvering speed to deal with as we do with airplanes. You didn’t say which helicopter you were using. I did my ATP in 1998 in a Robinson R-22. Used 85 knots (normal cruise speed). Later on I did a type ride in a Sikorsky 58. I think I remember using around 100 or 110 knots. (again, around a normal cruise speed).

    As far as bank angle goes, it is true that the Helicopter PTS states to use a bank angle “not to exceed 30 degrees”. That should not be taken to mean that 10 degrees would be appropriate. The Airplane ATP PTS states to use a bank angle of “at least 45 degrees”. That doesn’t mean that a bank angle of 70 degrees would be appropriate. The language they use in the PTS could definitely be improved.

    I would say go ahead and use 30 degrees to practice. That way if the examiner wants to see 30 degrees, you know you can do that. If he says 25 degrees, that’s easier than 30.

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  4. Mike O on May 20, 2017

    Thanks all of that is very helpful. I am flying a Eurocopter EC135p2

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