CH-47 c3: Introduction to mountain flying

Pilots and loadmasters are instructed the basics of type-specific mountain flying procedures, with a main focus on awareness and mitigation of the Spatial Disorientation effects related to this type of terrain.

Training goal

To improve situational awareness of helicopter crews in the mountains, by experiencing the effects of Spatial Disorientation and its result on flight performance and decision making in mountain flying.

Key learning points

  • Spatial Disorientation awareness in mountainous terrain
  • Effects of wind and demarcation in the mountains
  • Helicopter performance limitations, power management
  • Flight path planning with regard to safe “escapes” (e.g.: single engine)
  • Effective procedures for different types of landings in the mountains (bowl, pinnacle, ridge-line, narrow valley)

Mission description

The simulator mission starts at Aviano AfB (413ft), at the south side of the Dolomites. After flying a standard circuit and practicing an artificial slope landing the crew is familiar with the simulator and starts a flight to the north into the Dolomites,

In the first few valleys wind effects and correct positioning of the helicopter flight-path with respect to the mountains are instructed (e.g.: upwind versus downwind side of a mountain/valley, focus on single-engine safe “escapes”). The dangers of wires and skilifts are demonstrated.

The crew practices different landings, including a pinnacle landing, a ridge-line landing and a bowl landing. The effects of the wind, like updrafts, downdrafts, demarcation and turbulence on the helicopter (performance) are simulated accurately.

Throughout the whole simulator mission the importance of situational awareness in relation to power management, and ones susceptibility to Spatial Disorientation are demonstrated.


Course duration: 3 hours (briefing, training, de-briefing)
Crew: pilot and loadmaster (nr. 2 position)