There are several techniques for turning a helicopter. They mainly depend on when the pilot has to make a turn.
Two types of turns are possible:
This distinction is made because, depending on the type of turn, not the same flight controls will be used in priority¨
During a hovering turn, the heading is controlled with the anti-torque pedals. For a turn during cruise the heading is controlled by the cyclic pitch control
Never do the reverse maneuver
First of all the helicopter has to be in a hover (see Helicopter Hover). Remember that, during a hover the position, the height, the rotor RPM and the heading remain constant.
The goal of the hover turn is to change the heading by keeping the other 3 parameters constant.
The picture below illustrates a left hovering turn.
1. The helicopter is in a hover, visual reference points on the ground were taken: Apply a slight pressure on the left pedal. The helicopter starts to turn left
2. Add more left pedal pressure as the helicopter turns to the crosswind position. During the turn, do not forget to use the cyclic (usually into the wind so on the right here) if the helicopter begins to lean to the left and thus to move horizontally
3. After the 90° part of the turn (end of position 2), apply less pressure on the left pedal and continue to turn in a constant rate until reaching 180° of the turn (position 3) and keep ready to apply right pedal pressure in case of need due to the helicopter's tendency to weathervane between position 3 and position 5 (the passage from a downwind to a upwind position)
4. At position 4, it depends of the wind and of the helicopter type: sometimes the right pedal has to be used to continue the left turn in a constant rate (due to the helicopter's tendency to weathervane), sometimes continue to apply a little pressure on the left pedal is necessary and sometimes the helicopter continues to turn with the pedals in neutral position. The most important thing in any case is to continue the turn in a constant rate and in the hover
5. The left turn is terminated, the helicopter is about to complete a 360° left turn, apply pressure on the right anti-torque pedal to stop the turn
Do not forget to use the cyclic to remain the helicopter's position constant and the collective to keep the rotor RPM and the altitude constant
For this kind of turns the cyclic is used to control the helicopter's heading
To turn during straight and level flight, just apply sideward pressure on the cyclic in the desired direction. It is the first thing to do, no need to touch the anti-torque pedals to initiate the turn
Do not use the pedals automatically to turn; they will be used for compensation only if needed