Vuichard Ring Vortex Recovery Now FAA Approved

 - November 1, 2019, 11:46 AM

In the latest update of its Helicopter Flying Handbook the FAA for the first time has included the Vuichard safety technique for vortex ring state recovery, which the agency describes as an aerodynamic condition in which a helicopter could be in a vertical descent with 20-percent-up-to-maximum power applied and little or no climb performance.

Developed by Swiss helicopter pilot, Federal Office of Civil Aviation examiner, and rotorcraft safety advocate Claude Vuichard, the technique—which advocates increasing collective to maximum available power while simultaneously applying the power pedal to maintain heading and opposite cyclic—is now officially acknowledged as a recovery procedure by the FAA. The agency's handbook outlines the basic principles for all helicopter pilot training in the U.S. and abroad, and its October 2019 revision now describes the procedure in its "Helicopter Emergencies and Hazards" chapter.

According to Vuichard, modern helicopters with higher disc loading require an immediate reaction to escape a vortex ring state close to the ground because of their higher rate of descent.

The Vuichard Recovery Aviation Safety Foundation, which was established to educate pilots about the maneuver, noted it received four reports from pilots who escaped the hazardous situation through its implementation last year. For his efforts in fostering safe rotorcraft operations, Vuichard was honored last year with the BLR Aerospace Safety Award from the Helicopter Association International.