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Aviation Learning Center Document Propwatcher's Guide - P-8740-37
Author: FAA Date: unknown
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Every year people are seriously or fatally injured by walking into helicopter rotor blades. As a pilot, you are the key person in preventing these accidents.

  • Always brief your passengers on the safe routes to and from the helicopter, and stress that the aft end of the helicopter must be avoided.
  • The danger lies in the fact that tail rotors become invisible when rotating.
  • When possible, the helicopter should be shut down for loading and unloading of passengers or cargo.

Briefing Points


  • Approach the helicopter from the front side within the pilot's field of vision. Never approach a helicopter from the rear.
  • Carry all objects below your waist level - never upright or over the shoulder. Remove loose headgear, unless it is secured by a chinstrap.
  • Approach the helicopter from the downslope side when on uneven terrain.


  • Walk to the side or forward of the helicopter when leaving the aircraft.
  • Never walk toward the aft end of a helicopter.
  • Before exiting the helicopter, secure your headgear chinstrap or remove it.
  • Keep any objects being carried below your waist level.
  • When operating around uneven terrain, exit on the downslope side or cross in front of the helicopter before walking away from the aircraft.

External Load Operation

When the load hookup is complete, ground personnel should move forward clear of the rotor blades before giving maneuvering signals to the pilot.

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