Helicopters are able to take off without a great length available, from a hospital helipad for example. Generally, helicopters do not need a runway to take off and can do it directly from airports helipads, aprons or FATO (Final Approach and Take Off area).
In some situations, depending on local procedures or performance of some helicopters, a runway must be used to take off. If so, this information can be found in AD Charts (Published Procedures For Helicopters)
Usually helicopters depart from parking positions to FATO or TLOF (Touchdown and Lift Off area); it is from these positions that they take off.
In any case, the local procedures must be read because some rules differ from one place to another; helicopters can sometimes take off from a parking position
There is also specific phraseology for helicopters (Helicopter flight Phraseology Example) that may be a little different from that used for airplanes
There are several techniques to take off and some are more complex than others.
The technique to be used mainly depends on where the helicopter takes off. For example, taking off from a place with a lot of obstacles will not be carried out with the method used for taking off from an airport
Here is the list of most frequently used techniques:
Running take off and Maximum performance take off will not be explained in detail because they are advanced manoeuvres rarely used under VFR. The Running take off is used when there is not enough power to bring the helicopter to the hover prior to climbing; the Maximum Performence Take off is used to take off from a confined area
This technique is used most and requires the ability to perform a hover (Helicopter Hover)
As explained in the section Helicopter controls, any action on a flight control will cause a reaction on the helicopter flight attitude which will have to be adjusted using another flight control. Pilots must always monitor the helicopter attitude during all the take off phases
This manoeuvre is similar to the one used to perform a "Take off from a hover" but for this technique there is no hover to perform