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Is There A Benefit In Putting Low Skids On A Helicopter?

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Please excuse me if this is a stupid question but, is there a benefit in putting low skids on a helicopter? Example: the Bell 407 and 206LR can both be equipped with low skids or high skids. Personally I think the low skids don't look as good as the regular ones but I have a feeling that looks is not the only reason they are used. :rolleyes: Thanks for your answers!

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Guest bag swinnger

I think a lot of companies put low gear on for training and or Heli skiing on different models.

If the machine is not flying and landing away from airport's too much than the low gear is usually a little faster.

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Less drag I would assume.



Might be overlooking something here but I'd have to add - more stability. The helicopter will have a lower c of g when landing as the center of mass will be closer to the ground. Probably a little easier to roll a helicopter on high skids. Hence the reason we see low skids on training machines a fair bit.

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don't forget operational concerns as well... high skids give you more clearance to keep the t/r out of the brush and stuff... was it not the 500 you had to be very careful with low skids so the exhaust didn't cause ignition to grass, etc??


i think the same thing could be said for bear paws... when do you leave them on and take them off... have seen a few machines in the past flying summer fairs with the paws removed...

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I think (as far as the 206 series goes anyways) there is no real advantage to low or high skids in the bush. My whole career I have worked and continue to work in the bush and rare is the time I am unable to get in to a spot on a low skid machine that high skid machine can. Having said that....obviously the high skids would provide MORE protection for the T/R than low skids. Protecting the T/R is very high on the list of priorities when in the air and if the landing spot is that questionable (low vs high) than I feel it should be rejected anyway. my 2 cents anyway.

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Most of my flight time has been on low skid aircraft in the mountains.

I found that the low skids are more stable landing in deep snow, they add less weight to the aircraft and you pick up more of the ground cushion (I really notice it at max weight at higher density altitudes).

There is not a lot of difference in t/r clearance on a 206 with high or low skids (same C of G) when the skids first touch on landing or as they just leave the ground when taking off. The deck angles are fairly similar so it seems you are only gaining a few inches.

The big benifit of high gear to me is the clearance under the belly not so much for tail rotor clearance unless your CofG is way forward.


My .02



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