Settling With Power

Nov 14, 2017

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Settling With Power

Settling with power is the cause of many helicopter accidents. Pilots need to always be thinking about it, how to avoid it, and how to recover from it! Vuichard method discussed.

 Settling With Power

Settling with power (SWP) is the helicopter settling in its own down wash or dirty air. It is sometimes called vortex state also.

Remember the five things that can contribute to settling with power. 1. High Gross Weight 2. High Density Altitude 3. Attempting to hover above the hovering ceiling of the helicopter 4. Hovering out of ground effect without precise control 5. Steep powered approaches.

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These 3 things must be present: 1. Using 80-100% of available power 2. Descending at a rate greater that 300 per minute 3. Forward speed less than ETL (16-24 Knots)

Take away any one of those 3, and you will not get into settling with power. 

Recovery from  SWP is most generally done by getting forward speed and lowering collective pitch if altitude permits. Get ETL and you have eliminated one of the 3.

Settling With Power

Another method is to move out of the disturbed air laterally by using the power pedal and opposite direction cyclic, while raising collective. In other words, in a counter rotating helicopter like the Enstrom, Robinson, or Jet Ranger .... The pilot would push left pedal, move the cyclic right, and raise collective.

The helicopter flying handbook states that if SWP becomes fully developed, the only recovery may be auto rotation.

 Settling With Power

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