Approaching Positions

The aircraft must not be approached at any time without permission from the pilot (usually sitting on the right hand side of the cockpit). The rotor disc must not be approached or entered at any time without the express permission of the pilot.

All approaches must be made in the pilot’s field of vision and it must be remembered that entry points vary between aircraft.

Entry at 10 and 2 o’clock positions (as shown in the image to the right) is used for most helicopters, but some aircraft will have entry points at 3 and 9 o’clock positions.

Before approaching the helicopter, you need to seek approval to enter under the rotor disc. There are procedures that you have to follow when approaching during the day and at night.

During the day

  • Signal the pilot by extending one arm from chest height with your thumbs up
  • Only when the pilot returns with the thumbs up signal or a positive nod can the approach be made

At night

  • Signal to approach by flashing a torch (directed at the ground)
  • Wait for the pilot to flash the landing light as a sign of permission to approach

Sloping ground

Also, always approach the helicopter on the downhill side of any slope. Rotor clearance is significantly affected by sloping ground:

  • Approach and depart the helicopter on the downhill side of any sloping landing point to avoid the main rotor
  • If this involves walking around the helicopter to avoid the area of lowest clearance, then the only path is around the front of the helicopter, never the rear

Learning Bite

Never go beyond the side doors of a helicopter and always avoid the rear.