Hovering Part 1 (Pedal Turns)


To introduce the effect of ATP inputs on heading and collective on altitude; coordinate ATP and collective inputs; introduce/reinforce a positive exchange of controls.


  • Brief student on positive exchange of controls
  • Allow the student to experiment with the effect ATP inputs have on aircraft heading
  • Allow the student to experiment with the effect ATP inputs have on power requirements/collective inputs
  • Perform 90-360° turns at a constant rate while maintaining a 5΄ skid height

Instructional aids and pre-requisites

  • Lesson FC-1 is  a pre-requisite
  • Ground Lesson pre-requisite: None


  • Pre-flight briefing: Positive 3-way exchange of controls
  • Position the aircraft into the wind over an even surface with ample maneuvering room, and identify a vertical structure 50 ΄ to 75 ΄ from the aircraft that can be used as a reference
  • Clear the area of traffic and obstructions
  • Demonstrate 360 ° pedal turn
  • In a 5-foot hover, transfer control of the ATPs to the student
  • Direct student to apply ATP pressure in the desired direction of turn
  • As the aircraft turns through the 90° position, decrease pedal
  • As the aircraft turns through the 180° position, anticipate the need for opposite pedal pressure
  • As the aircraft turns to the 360 ° position, stop turn with opposite pedal pressure
  • After several 360 ° turns, transfer control of the ATPs and collective to the student
  • Repeat turns, queuing student to make corrective collective inputs when altitude changes
  • Post-flight briefing
    • Correlate weathervaning tendency to the changing need for ATP
    • Relate the power/collective requirement to ATP inputs

Common errors

  • Uneven rate of turn
    • Practice in calm or light winds initially
  • Not anticipating changing need for ATP or need for opposite ATP throughout turn
    • Prompt student in advance of changing ATP requirements
  • Climbing or descending during turns
    • Prompt student to anticipate increase in power requirement with increase in left ATP
    • Prompt student to anticipate decrease in power requirement with increase in right ATP

Completion standards

  • Verbalizes positive exchange of controls
  • Completes turn ±10 ° of starting heading
  • Rate of turn constant
  • Altitude ±2΄

Teaching considerations

  • Since hovering is a complex skill, these lessons are designed to break the skill down into its component parts, but only after the student has developed a feel for the controls under more stable flight conditions. During previous in cruise flight, the student learns the general function of each control, and also begins to develop attitude references.
  • Don’t rush students to hover–this is a skill that will develop in time.
  • Use a 5′ hover altitude for students while learning to hover.
  • Choose a vertical reference that it is a safe distance from the aircraft (50 ΄ to 75 ΄).
  • Hangars, wind indicators, and flag poles are ideal examples, since they provide an unchanging reference for the aircraft’s attitude throughout the altitudes used for practicing hovering.

Additional practice

Additional resources

  • None specified

Leave a Reply