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FAASTeam Notice
Type: Helicopter Operations
Notice Date: Wednesday, February 28, 2024
Notice Number: NOTC3463
The Rotorcraft Collective Video Series
This notice expired on
Saturday, March 30, 2024

The Rotorcraft Collective is a joint workgroup between the FAA and industry professionals that produces short helicopter-focused safety videos in collaboration with the FAA Safety Team (FAASTeam) and the United States Helicopter Safety Team (USHST). Team members include engineers, pilots, mechanics, accident investigators, and communication specialists from various FAA offices, Helicopter Association International (HAI), Helicopter Institute, Airbus Helicopters, Hughes Aerospace, and Pilot Institute.

Check out the 11 videos in the series below. Make sure to hit the like button and leave a comment!

Preflighting Your Passengers

This is the first installment of the FAA's Rotorcraft Collective safety series. Briefing your helicopter passengers is essential for a safe flight. This video briefly reviews some best practices for pre-flighting passengers.


Preflight Inspection

Don’t let your helicopter preflight inspection become routine. Complacency can lead to accidents. In 2011, a fuel cap came off in the autorotation and contacted the tail rotor, causing a loss of tail rotor thrust. A final walk-around inspection could have prevented this accident from happening. Watch this video to learn best practices for your preflight inspections.


Ground Operations in Icing Conditions

Flying a helicopter with frost or ice on the rotor blades or airframe can lead to disaster, and operations in icing conditions can be deadly without proper precautions. Watch this video for recommended practices during preflight, run-up, and taxi in icing conditions.


Preflight After Maintenance

A more comprehensive preflight inspection is needed after your helicopter comes back from maintenance. It’s vital to devote additional time so you can detect those subtle mistakes like improperly installed hardware or missing safety wire. Watch this video for recommended practices to improve your next preflight inspection after maintenance.


Performance Planning & Power Management

We should all understand the performance capabilities and respect the limitations of the aircraft we are flying. Watch this video for steps to improve helicopter performance planning and power management.


Sharing the Airspace with Drones

As a helicopter pilot, it’s only a matter of time before you will encounter a drone in the air. Spotting a drone while flying is highly unlikely. Watch this video for 12 tips on avoiding collisions with drones.


Fuel Yourself for a Safe Flight

The human pilot is the most important system in the aircraft, which requires clean fuel for the body and mind to work properly. Thinking requires energy, and flying requires a lot of thinking. To enjoy a safe and successful flight, fuel yourself with healthy food and fluids.


Caution! Helicopter Wake Turbulence

Helicopters can generate wake turbulence that is equally as hazardous as fixed-wing aircraft. You should avoid operating aircraft within three rotor diameters of any helicopter in a slow hover taxi or stationary hover and use caution when operating behind or crossing the path of a landing and departing helicopter. Watch this video for more tips on avoiding helicopter wake turbulence.


Deviating from Maintenance Procedures Can Be Deadly

Pilots should never assume that work completed on the helicopter they fly has been done according to the manufacturer's instructions. The aircraft accident discussed in this video was caused by using an alternative procedure to replace a part — the fuel tank was removed to access the “dog bone” (bi-directional suspension crossbar) instead of removing the transmission/gearbox. This led to a loose B-nut and missing safety wire, causing a loss of fuel flow and an unintended forced landing from 200 feet.


Don’t Forget to See and Avoid Other Aircraft

Most collisions between two aircraft are preventable. However, with the skies becoming crowded with more aircraft and the cockpit becoming crowded with new technologies, using your eyes to look outside is critical for a safe flight. It is the responsibility of all pilots to maintain vigilance to see and avoid other aircraft. This video covers some of our recommendations to prevent a mid-air collision.


Sharing Low-altitude Airspace with Drones

Midair collisions between drones and traditional aircraft are on the rise. Since 2017, there have been at least six confirmed and another six probable drone collisions with airplanes, helicopters, and hot air balloons, causing significant damage. Most of these incidents happened to helicopters. These collisions have occurred mainly below 500 feet and some even in controlled airspace. Traditional aircraft always have the right of way over drones, but drone operators don’t always see and avoid in time. In this video, we discuss these critical issues to flight safety and provide some best practices for rotorcraft pilots.


— For questions about the video series, send an email to