How Does a Helicopter Work?

Have you ever looked up into the sky as a helicopter roared by and wondered just how it worked? Helicopters, while sleek and powerful like other aircraft, are vastly different from things like passenger planes. What is the point of helicopters, what do they do that airplanes can’t, and just how do those whirling blades keep the vessel off the ground? It may seem easy to be mystified by these machines, and for good reason; they bring some of the most fascinating elements of physics to life. Here is a quick breakdown of how helicopters work so you can be the aircraft expert next time one passes overhead.

Helicopter wings are a little different than helicopter wings. Helicopter wings operate in a system called helicopter rotor track and balance. The huge blades in the helicopter rotor track and balance system that spin on helicopters are the rotors, and they use a forced referred to as lift to rise the vessel into the air. Vibration in aircraft is a constant issue that must be combated, and the delicate balance track part of the helicopter rotor track and balance system is what keeps the aircraft’s vibrations in check.

Once the helicopter is off the ground, a helicopter can then use the smaller back system of rotors to move forwards and backwards, as well as side to side. That is because these back rotors can twist on their own axis to provide a wider range of direction.

On a related note, a helicopter possesses many capabilities that airplanes do not. For example, an airplane can only change its elevation by moving up or down an incline. A helicopter, however, can move straight up and down without moving horizontally at all. For this reason, helicopters do not need runways like airplanes do. Unlike airplanes, helicopters can hover in the air without moving, and can move backwards and sideways.

This makes high quality helicopters ideal for many situations, such as military and medical use. Helicopters are great as flying ambulances because they can quickly get from one point in a city to another, can land in tight and packed places, and can get from point to point faster than airplanes. Helicopters are much more mobile than airplanes and beneficial to search and rescue workers, because they can access places that planes cannot.

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