Aeronautical Information Manual (AIM), page 219

Index   218 -- Page 219 -- 220


the local operations and make it known to controllers
when additional instructions are necessary.

2. Insofar as possible, helicopter operations will
be instructed to avoid the flow of fixed-wing aircraft
to minimize overall delays; however, there will be
many situations where faster/larger helicopters may
be integrated with fixed-wing aircraft for the benefit
of all concerned. Examples would include IFR
flights, avoidance of noise sensitive areas, or use of
runways/taxiways to minimize the hazardous effects
of rotor downwash in congested areas.

3. Because helicopter pilots are intimately
familiar with the effects of rotor downwash, they are
best qualified to determine if a given operation can be
conducted safely. Accordingly, the pilot has the final
authority with respect to the specific airspeed/altitude
combinations. ATC clearances are in no way intended
to place the helicopter in a hazardous position. It is
expected that pilots will advise ATC if a specific
clearance will cause undue hazards to persons or

b. Controllers normally limit ATC ground service

and instruction to movement areas; therefore,

operations from nonmovement areas are conducted at

pilot discretion and should be based on local policies,

procedures, or letters of agreement. In order to

maximize the flexibility of helicopter operations, it is

necessary to rely heavily on sound pilot judgment.
For example, hazards such as debris, obstructions,
vehicles, or personnel must be recognized by the

pilot, and action should be taken as necessary to avoid
such hazards. Taxi, hover taxi, and air taxi operations
are considered to be ground movements. Helicopters
conducting such operations are expected to adhere to
the same conditions, requirements, and practices as
apply to other ground taxiing and ATC procedures in
the AIM.
1. The phraseology taxi is used when it is
intended or expected that the helicopter will taxi on
the airport surface, either via taxiways or other
prescribed routes. Taxi is used primarily for
helicopters equipped with wheels or in response to a
pilot request. Preference should be given to this
procedure whenever it is necessary to minimize
effects of rotor downwash.

2. Pilots may request a hover taxi when slow
forward movement is desired or when it may be
appropriate to move very short distances. Pilots

should avoid this procedure if rotor downwash is
likely to cause damage to parked aircraft or if blowing
dust/snow could obscure visibility. If it is necessary
to operate above 25 feet AGL when hover taxiing, the
pilot should initiate a request to ATC.

3. Air taxi is the preferred method for helicopter
ground movements on airports provided ground
operations and conditions permit. Unless otherwise
requested or instructed, pilots are expected to remain
below 100 feet AGL. However, if a higher than
normal airspeed or altitude is desired, the request
should be made prior to lift-off. The pilot is solely
responsible for selecting a safe airspeed for the
altitude/operation being conducted. Use of air taxi
enables the pilot to proceed at an optimum
airspeed/altitude, minimize downwash effect, con-
serve fuel, and expedite movement from one point to
another. Helicopters should avoid overflight of other
aircraft, vehicles, and personnel during air-taxi
operations. Caution must be exercised concerning
active runways and pilots must be certain that air taxi
instructions are understood. Special precautions may
be necessary at unfamiliar airports or airports with

multiple/intersecting active runways. The taxi

procedures given in Paragraph 4-3-18, Taxiing,

Paragraph 4-3-19, Taxi During Low Visibility, and

Paragraph 4-3-20, Exiting the Runway After

Landing, also apply.

Pilot/Controller Glossary Term- Taxi.
Pilot/Controller Glossary Term- Hover Taxi.
Pilot/Controller Glossary Term- Air Taxi.

c. Takeoff and Landing Procedures.
1. Helicopter operations may be conducted
from a runway, taxiway, portion of a landing strip, or
any clear area which could be used as a landing site
such as the scene of an accident, a construction site,
or the roof of a building. The terms used to describe
designated areas from which helicopters operate are:
movement area, landing/takeoff area, apron/ramp,
heliport and helipad (See Pilot/Controller Glossary).
These areas may be improved or unimproved and
may be separate from or located on an airport/heli-
port. ATC will issue takeoff clearances from
movement areas other than active runways, or in
diverse directions from active runways, with
additional instructions as necessary. Whenever
possible, takeoff clearance will be issued in lieu of
extended hover/air taxi operations. Phraseology will
helipad, runway number, etc.), MAKE RIGHT/

Airport Operations 4-3-19

Page 219 of the Aeronautical Information Manual (AIM.pdf)
AIM: Official Guide to Basic Flight Information and ATC Procedures

Index   218 -- Page 219 -- 220