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A helicopter hovers when it remains laterally and vertically stationary above one point on the ground (or water as the case may be). A hover can be upright, or inverted, and can be any of a number of different orientations.

While hovering appears to be a simple maneuver, it actually requires the pilot to apply constant small control inputs as the helicopter drifts this way and that due to wind, small trim errors and movement due to previous control inputs. It is similar in many ways to trying to balance a marble at a specific point on a sheet of glass.

Although pilots often talk about a 'stable hover' there is really no such thing; the best we can hope for is for it to stay stationary for maybe 5 or so seconds without control inputs, before the cumulative error builds up and the helicopter begins accelerating noticeably in a random direction.

A helicopter's translating tendency means that it will tend to move away from the tail rotor as it becomes light on the skids and will sit at an angle in the hover.

See also

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