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Airport Operations

pilot request. Preference should be given to this
procedure whenever it is necessary to minimize
effects of rotor downwash.


Pilots may request a hover taxi when slow

forward movement is desired or when it may be
appropriate to move very short distances. Pilots
should avoid this procedure if rotor downwash is
likely to cause damage to parked aircraft or if blowing
dust/snow could obscure visibility. If it is necessary
to operate above 25 feet AGL when hover taxiing, the
pilot should initiate a request to ATC.

3. Air taxi

 is the preferred method for helicopter

ground movements on airports provided ground
operations and conditions permit. Unless otherwise
requested or instructed, pilots are expected to remain
below 100 feet AGL. However, if a higher than
normal airspeed or altitude is desired, the request
should be made prior to lift

−off. The pilot is solely

responsible for selecting a safe airspeed for the
altitude/operation being conducted. Use of air taxi
enables the pilot to proceed at an optimum
airspeed/altitude, minimize downwash effect, con-
serve fuel, and expedite movement from one point to
another. Helicopters should avoid overflight of other
aircraft, vehicles, and personnel during air


operations. Caution must be exercised concerning
active runways and pilots must be certain that air taxi
instructions are understood. Special precautions may
be necessary at unfamiliar airports or airports with
multiple/intersecting active runways. The taxi
procedures given in Paragraph 4

−3−18, Taxiing,

Paragraph 4

−3−19, Taxi During Low Visibility, and

Paragraph 4

−3−20, Exiting the Runway After

Landing, also apply.


Pilot/Controller Glossary Term

− Taxi.

Pilot/Controller Glossary Term

− Hover Taxi.

Pilot/Controller Glossary Term

− Air Taxi.

c. Takeoff and Landing Procedures.


Helicopter operations may be conducted

from a runway, taxiway, portion of a landing strip, or
any clear area which could be used as a landing site
such as the scene of an accident, a construction site,
or the roof of a building. The terms used to describe
designated areas from which helicopters operate are:
movement area, landing/takeoff area, apron/ramp,
heliport and helipad (See Pilot/Controller Glossary).

These areas may be improved or unimproved and
may be separate from or located on an airport/heli-
port. ATC will issue takeoff clearances from

 areas other than active runways, or in

diverse directions from active runways, with
additional instructions as necessary. Whenever
possible, takeoff clearance will be issued in lieu of
extended hover/air taxi operations. Phraseology will
helipad, runway number, etc.), MAKE RIGHT/
LEFT TURN FOR (direction, heading, NAVAID
ber, name, etc.).” Unless requested by the pilot,
downwind takeoffs will not be issued if the tailwind
exceeds 5 knots.


Pilots should be alert to wind information as

well as to wind indications in the vicinity of the
helicopter. ATC should be advised of the intended
method of departing. A pilot request to takeoff in a
given direction indicates that the pilot is willing to
accept the wind condition and controllers will honor
the request if traffic permits. Departure points could
be a significant distance from the control tower and
it may be difficult or impossible for the controller to
determine the helicopter’s relative position to the


If takeoff is requested from nonmovement

areas, an area not authorized for helicopter use, an
area not visible from the tower, an unlighted area at
night, or an area off the airport, the phraseology
“DEPARTURE FROM (requested location) WILL
BE AT YOUR OWN RISK (additional instructions,
as necessary). USE CAUTION (if applicable).” The
pilot is responsible for operating in a safe manner and
should exercise due caution.


Similar phraseology is used for helicopter

landing operations. Every effort will be made to
permit helicopters to proceed direct and land as near
as possible to their final destination on the airport.
Traffic density, the need for detailed taxiing
instructions, frequency congestion, or other factors
may affect the extent to which service can be
expedited. As with ground movement operations, a
high degree of pilot/controller cooperation and
communication is necessary to achieve safe and
efficient operations.


7110.65R CHG 2