EHEST Leaflet HE 3 Helicopter Off Airfield Landing Sites Operations

This leaflet covers the main topics related to off field landing site operations:

  • Planning and Preparation,
  • Landing Site Identification,
  • Landing Site Recce,
  • Types of Approach,
  • Manoeuvring in the landing site,
  • Departure, and
  • Pilot errors.

Helicopters are versatile machines. They can perform approaches, manoeuver, land and taker-off from airfields and helipads but also from off airfield, unprepared landing sites such as as hotels, golf courses, sporting venues, roads, hills and mountainous terrains to perform various types of missions. Off airfield landing sites vary in dimensions, approaches, hazards, elevation and location and present various challenges to the pilots and flight crew. Off airfield operations are intrinsically more risky and have resulted in a significant number of accidents. Unlike at an airfield there is generally little or no assistance in the assessment of wind, guidance on appropriate approach directions or information on other traffic. Hazards not normally experienced at an airfield such as wires, obstructions, uneven landing ground, trees, foreign objects propitious to Foreign Object Damage (FOD), livestock and pedestrians are quite likely to be found and require a heightened degree of situational awareness and control by the pilot. Expect the unexpected and know how to address it!

This EHEST Leaflet HE 13 provides information and tips on how to successfully and safely operate in, over and out off-airfield sites.