background image

AIM 

6/17/21 

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. 

REFERENCE

 

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 
be “CLEARED FOR TAKEOFF FROM (taxiway, 
helipad, runway number, etc.), MAKE RIGHT/ 
LEFT TURN FOR (direction, heading, NAVAID 
radial) DEPARTURE/DEPARTURE ROUTE (num-
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 
wind. 

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. 

4

3

22 

Airport Operations