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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.

2. 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−taxi

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.

1. 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

movement 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.

2. 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


3. 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.

4. 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.


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