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The Best Way to Get Out of a Vortex Ring State

Updated: Oct 30, 2023

This maneuver could save your life!

Vortex ring state is a dangerous condition that can occur when a helicopter is hovering or flying slowly in its own downwash. The helicopter's rotor blades become trapped in their own vortices, which causes the helicopter to lose lift and descend rapidly.

If a helicopter enters vortex ring state, it is important to take immediate action to recover. The traditional recovery technique is to lower the collective and push forward on the cyclic. However, this technique can be ineffective, especially if the helicopter is low to the ground or has a tailwind.

The Vuichard Recovery is a more effective way to recover from vortex ring state.

It involves increasing the collective, applying counter-torque with the pedals, and banking the helicopter to one side. This maneuver uses the tail rotor to help the helicopter move out of the vortex ring.

The Vuichard Recovery is a relatively simple maneuver, but it must be performed quickly and precisely. If done correctly, it can help a helicopter recover from vortex ring state in a matter of seconds.

Here are the steps of the Vuichard Recovery:

  1. Immediately increase the collective to provide maximum available power.

  2. Apply counter-torque with the pedals to maintain your heading.

  3. Bank the helicopter to the side, 15-20 degrees.

  4. Hold the maneuver for 2 seconds.

  5. The helicopter should be out of the vortex ring state and flying normally.

The Vuichard Recovery is a valuable skill for all helicopter pilots to learn. It can be the difference between life and death in a situation where a helicopter enters vortex ring state.

Here are some additional tips for the Vuichard Recovery:

  • Practice the maneuver in a simulator or with an instructor before attempting it in a real helicopter.

  • Be aware of the conditions that can lead to vortex ring state, such as low forward speed, low altitude, and tailwinds.

  • If you feel the helicopter start to descend in a vortex ring, take immediate action to recover. Don't wait until it's too late.

The Vuichard Recovery is a life-saving maneuver that all helicopter pilots should know. By learning and practicing this maneuver, you can increase your chances of surviving a vortex ring state accident.

Also read our original blog post about the Best way to get out of a Vortex Ring State.


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