Disc Protocols

When blades are turning

If the blades are turning the preference is to stay with the helicopter either in the cockpit or within close proximity of the fuselage (do not go near the blade tips) until the blades have stopped turning.

Keep disc level

Upon landing the pedals should be set neutral, the collective full down and frictioned and locked and the cyclic should be set central so that the disc is level with the ground.

Do not place the cyclic into wind.  When the disc is level and if there are trims attached to the cyclic set the trims so that the cyclic wants to remain in that position then firmly apply the frictions and or locks.

Secure the cyclic

A crew member (pilot, co-pilot or student) should then remain at the controls and ensure the security of the cyclic.

Manage disc sailing

If the blades for whatever reason want to sail then use cyclic to try to control the disc.  If a rotor brake is fitted use it to rapidly reduce the RPM and minimise the sailing.

Permission to approach

If a pilot or crew member wishes to depart or approach a helicopter when the blades are turning they must first get permission from the crew member at the controls so that all concerned are aware and cautious in controlling the disc.

Permission to depart

If departing the helicopter then consult the crew member, ensuring they are in control of the disc and that it is level then with your helmet still on (if wearing one) duck down and depart towards the front or side.

Maintain eye contact

If wishing to approach the helicopter, then stop outside of the rotor disc area.  Make eye contact with the crew member and look for a signal that will imply that is safe to approach.  This may be in the form of thumbs up or a nod of the head.

Agreed signal

The signal must be pre arranged and form part of a protocol set up by the Company or crew.  If the signal is not forth coming and you cannot make eye contact with the crew member at the controls then do not approach.

Keep helmet on

Upon receiving a positive response and with your helmet on duck down and approach the helicopter as appropriate.

Stay alert

As you are moving under the disc try to keep an eye on what is happening and continuously be aware of your surroundings.  If the disc sails drop to the ground and either try to get closer to the fuselage or away from the blades tips.
Many an experienced pilot has been caught out!

With complacency for our working environment being our downfall.