The main obstacle to flying helicopters well is that they are hard to fly. They are also dangerous. So you need to decide whether the beauty and adventure of being able to fly a helicopter outweigh the risk.
Helicopters are hard to fly because they require so much attention and have so many controls. There’s a knob or switch for everything, and everything moves in three dimensions. The pilot has to keep track of all these moving parts at once, plus their relation to the ground and what the helicopter is trying to do. It’s like playing a video game in 3-D with your hands tied behind your back.
The basics of flying a helicopter are simple, but mastering the subtleties takes both time and practice. The controls are not intuitive, because they operate in a kind of reverse from what you’d expect from an airplane: pull back on the cyclic and the helicopter goes down; push forward on the cyclic and it goes up; twist left on the collective, it goes right; twist right, it goes left. Rotate the pedals clockwise and it turns right, counterclockwise and it turns left (at least in most helicopters). All this takes time getting used to.
Another problem is that flight in a helicopter is very different
Helicopters are one of the most beautiful flying machines ever created by mankind. They are airborne vehicles that are capable of powered lift and horizontal flight through the use of a rotating blade system. They can hover on one spot, move sideways, backwards, or forward and can even fly in circles. Unlike airplanes, there is no need for a runway to take off or land on. They can take off and land in just about any terrain provided there is enough space to do so. These qualities make helicopters ideal for many different tasks such as rescue operations, military operations and recreational purposes.
II. How to Fly Helicopters Well
A. Learn the Basic Controls
In order to fly helicopters well you will have to learn how everything in the cockpit works. You will have to learn how the controls work and what they do first before getting into the air with your helicopter. As with any other flying machine, you must know how both your pedals and your cyclic work. The pedals control the tail rotor while the cyclics control the main rotors direction as well as speed of rotation which causes forward movement of your helicopter when combined with your collective pitch (which also controls rotor speed). Your collective pitch determines how fast your blades spin on their axis, thus
To fly a helicopter well requires a thorough knowledge of aerodynamics and control of the helicopter. To fly helicopters well, you need to know what is going on inside the cockpit. In order to fly a helicopter well, you need to know your tools, your surroundings and the mission at hand.
To fly helicopters well also requires that you have an understanding of flight dynamics and an understanding of how to control and use the airplane’s controls. To fly helicopters well you must understand all of these things in order to be successful.
There are three main types of helicopters: civilian, military and police. The most common form of civilian helicopter is the civil air ambulance (CAS), which has a crew consisting of paramedics, doctors and nurses, who are trained in flying helicopters. A CAS can transport patients by both ground and air to hospitals. Military helicopters are generally used for transport, but they can also be used for reconnaissance or combat if needed. Police helicopters are used for surveillance purposes such as search and rescue operations or crowd control during protests.
The first thing to understand about helicopters is that they are not airplanes. They don’t fly; they beat the air into submission (a friend of mine once described flying in a helicopter as “beating the air into submission, with brief interludes when it is merely being beaten”).
You can learn to fly helicopters well. But you can’t learn to fly helicopters well without learning to fly them badly first. You can learn to land them safely every time; but you can’t learn to do that without crashing a few times while you’re learning.
I have crashed three helicopters. I have always managed to walk away from the crashes uninjured, but it would be wrong to describe these as minor incidents; two of the three were “substantial” events by the standards of the Civil Aviation Authority, and one was a full-blown emergency–the sort where you find yourself standing outside the wreckage thinking, “Wow! How did I get here?”
You can’t fly helicopters as well as you can drive cars. Not because flying helicopters is harder than driving cars, but because flying helicopters well is a high-skill, high-status activity. It’s something you do for fun, like playing the piano or racing sailboats, not something you do to get work done.
But flying helicopters badly is not high status. So the market for people who want to fly helicopters but aren’t willing to put in the time to fly them well is zero. Helicopters have a reputation for being hard to fly, and that reputation is true–but it’s not what makes them hard to fly. What makes them hard to fly is that they keep falling out of the sky.
To see why they fall out of the sky, imagine a piece of paper with a dot drawn on it:
The dot represents the helicopter’s center of gravity and the center of lift (the rotors). The helicopter wants to spin counterclockwise around its center of gravity, which we’ll call X in this article. (The direction of rotation will depend on which way the rotors are turning.) If X is below the center of lift, then when you increase collective pitch (lift) you also increase torque (twist), causing an
The Helicopter is a fascinating aircraft but an enigma to many. It is like no other aircraft in the world. It can do things that no other aircraft can do, it has a beauty and elegance all of its own, and it offers the pilot a freedom of movement that no other aircraft can give.
It is a machine of balance and the force of gravity. It will stay in the air so long as there is a force acting upwards that is greater than the force acting downwards. The rotor produces this upward force, or lift, and you control its position with the controls. The rotor blades are spinning wings and if they are tilted forwards then there will be forward thrust produced just like any wing produces lift when it moves through the air.
So we have found our upward force (lift) and our forward thrust from the rotor blades. How does it fly sideways, backwards and hover? In short, with great skill! The helicopter will hover at about 45 knots if you don’t touch anything and it has enough power to stay up there. You can change direction by tilting the disc to one side or the other by operating pedals which tilt the swashplate to one side or the other thus changing helicopter trim. In this way you can fly sideways at a constant
A helicopter is not a fixed-wing aircraft, like an airplane. It does not fly forward by generating lift from its wings. Instead, the entire helicopter rises and falls on a column of air generated by its main rotor, and the helicopter flies forward by tilting that column of air. A helicopter’s tail rotor simply prevents it from spinning in circles (called torque).
To understand how a helicopter flies, start with two basic facts about the main rotor:
1. The main rotor turns counter-clockwise as seen from above.
2. The main rotor always generates lift perpendicular to its blades.
This means that if you tilt your head 90 degrees to the right, you get a picture of what’s going on that looks exactly like airplane flight: the back of each blade pushes air down, generating an upward force that balances the downward force of gravity, and the “wing” moves forward because air is pushed back by this downward force. This makes it easier to see what happens when you change the pitch of your blades or change their speed.
Now watch what happens when you tilt your head back to 0 degrees: you see that if your rotor is tilted even slightly backward (pitch angle < 0), it produces a sideways force. Since your whole helicopter is