21.2. Entering and exiting fast forward flight

Forward flight is a little tricky on helicopters. It requires simultaneous coordination of both the throttle and cyclic to enter and exit forward flight smoothly.

To enter forward flight, it is necessary to tilt the heli forward (use forward cyclic) and simultaneously apply a little throttle. If you tilt the heli forward without applying throttle, the helicopter will slide nose-first into the ground. This is because the thrust from the heli is being vectored at an angle relative to the ground, and you lose some vertical lift because it's being converted to horizontal thrust.

Once the helicopter starts moving, you will need to tilt the heli back a little and simultaneously reduce throttle below hover. You will need to reduce the throttle because translational lift will occur and you will now get extra lift. Exiting forward flight into a hover is the reverse process. You will need to tilt the heli back (use back cyclic) to reduce forward motion, and simultaneously reduce throttle to prevent the heli from climbing up. After the forward motion has been reduced, you will need to level the helicopter (use forward cyclic) and add throttle to transition to a stable hover.

One way to practice forward flight is to pick two points a comfortable distance apart (maybe five feet for a micro, ten or fifteen feet for a nonmicro) then practice flying back and forth between those two points (stop into a hover at each point and turn 180 degrees).