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Asked by: 541 views , ,
Aerodynamics, Helicopter

Hello everyone!

I´m wondering how long can a helicopter hover out of ground effect with no wind from any direction.

I´ve heard that the vortices on the tip will continue increasing till we have to move forward to get some airspeed, otherwise we can lose altitude and could enter in vortex ring state.

Is this correct? or we can hover as long as we want if we the helicopter performance allow us to do it.

Thank you so much for your help.

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2 Answers

  1. KDS on Aug 13, 2017

    Until it runs out of fuel or has a mechanical failure.

    What someone was probably trying to describe to you is what is commonly called Settling With Power or Vortex Ring State. If a pilot were to try to hover out of ground effect (OGE) above at an altitude above the hovering ceiling, they are trying to do something the aircraft just cannot do. It will start to settle. How long that takes depends on a lot of factors.

    I’ve known pilots who have experienced it an did know one pilot who crashed because of it along with the fact he did not recognize what was happening. He had been trying to hover so a photographer could record and event on the ground.

    For more information, you can look at this publication:


    Start reading about Vortex Ring State on Page 11-5.

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  2. Tulkas on Aug 13, 2017

    Thank you so much for your rapid response!

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