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Settling With Power/ Vortex Ring State

Updated: Jun 7, 2019

You must understand a helicopter emergency called settling with power, vortex ring state, or settling in your own down wash. You must have three things present to get into it: 1) traveling less than ETL/16-24 knots 2) descending greater than 300 Feet/Minute 3) Using 20-100% of available power. If you get rid of any one of those three, you will not get into settling with power.

Other things add to the risk, such as: 1) High gross weight 2) High density altitude 3) Hovering above the helicopter's hovering ceiling 4) Steep powered approach 5) Hovering out of ground effect (OGE) without precise control 5) Landing to a rooftop or landing pad that is not aligned with the wind.

Recovery from settling with power will call for getting the helicopter into clean air. One way is to get forward speed by pushing forward on the cyclic. It helps to also lower the collective some, altitude permitting. This method may cause a significant loss of altitude.

Another recovery option that will recover the helicopter faster is the Vuichard method. This calls for adding pitch to the tail rotor, pushing the cyclic in the same direction as tail rotor thrust, and pulling up some on the collective.

If you are in a fully developed vortex ring state, you may have to escape by auto rotation and then recover at a lower altitude.

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