The landing site should offer some security from enemy observation and direct
fire. A good landing site allows the helicopter to land and depart without exposing the
helicopter to unneeded risks. Security is normally established around the entire landing
5-29. MARKING THE LANDING SITE IN DAYLIGHT
The mission, capabilities, and situation of the unit requesting evacuation will
determine when and how the landing site will be marked. Normally, the only mark or
signals required are colored smoke and a signalman. VS-17 marker panels may be
used to mark the landing site, but must be at least 50 feet from the touchdown point.
a. Smoke. Smoke grenades that emit colored smoke can be used in daytime to
identify the landing area when the helicopter is sighted. The radio operator should not
tell the pilot what color smoke is being used. Rather, he should radio the helicopter pilot
and inform him that "smoke is out." The pilot then identifies the color of the smoke and
the personnel at the pickup site verify the color. This helps to prevent an enemy in the
area who is listening to the radio transmission from using the same color smoke to lure
the helicopter into an enemy-held position.
b. Panels. When the tactical situation allows and materials are available, the
landing site can be marked with the letter "H" made from identification panels or other
appropriate marking material.
(1) Place the panels at least 50 feet away from the touchdown point, not on
the touchdown point. The panels are used by the pilots to find the landing zone. The
actual touchdown point is selected by the pilot after surveying the surface for holes and
(2) Secure the panels to the ground to prevent them from being blown about
by the rotor wash. Use firmly driven stakes to keep the panels taut. Piling rocks on the
corners of the panels is not adequate.
c. Wind Direction Indicator. If the tactical situation permits, a small wind sock
or a rag tied to the end of a stick in the vicinity of the landing area will help the helicopter
pilot to judge wind direction at the landing site. Wind direction can also be indicated by
a soldier standing at the upwind edge of the site with his back to the wind and his arms
extended forward. Smoke grenades can also be used to show wind direction.