How Do Helicopters Operate?

When it comes to aircraft, the sleek design and incredible speed of airplanes can easily captivate people. On the other hand, the bulky and peculiar shape of helicopters rarely evoke the same kind of awe. However, once you learn about the capabilities of helicopters, you might reconsider your perception of them!

Unlike airplanes, helicopters are equipped with rotating wings known as blades or rotors on top. When the blades of a helicopter spin, they generate a force called lift, which enables the helicopter to ascend into the air. In essence, a helicopter’s rotors serve the same purpose as the wings of an airplane.

In addition to the rotors on top, helicopters also have a rotor in the rear. The rear rotor can be adjusted to face different directions, allowing the helicopter to move forward, backward, and sideways.

Helicopters possess a range of capabilities that airplanes lack. For instance, helicopters can ascend or descend vertically and remain suspended in the air without any horizontal movement. They can also fly in reverse and sideways. Additionally, helicopters are capable of taking off and landing without the need for a runway!

These unique capabilities make helicopters highly suitable for various tasks. They have long been utilized by the military to transport troops, deliver supplies, and function as airborne ambulances. The maneuverability of helicopters enables them to reach people in remote and inaccessible locations, such as mountains and oceans.

Helicopters are also frequently employed by the media for reporting breaking news and traffic updates. Due to their ability to hover and land without a runway, helicopters are well-suited for transporting large objects. They can also be used to carry substantial amounts of water to combat forest fires.

The credit for the invention of the modern helicopter goes to Igor Sikorsky, a Russian aeronautical engineer who later immigrated to the United States. In 1931, he filed the initial patent for a helicopter design. However, it took eight more years for the first functional prototype of his design to take flight.

Do you aspire to fly a helicopter one day? We believe you can do it! However, bear in mind that it requires extensive training. Flying helicopters is significantly more challenging than flying airplanes. Were you aware that successfully piloting a helicopter necessitates the use of both hands and both feet?

Give It a Try

We hope that today’s Wonder of the Day has taken you to new heights! Remember to invite a friend or family member to join you in exploring the following activities:

Make Your Own Helicopter!

If you’re interested in creating your own helicopter, there are a few things you’ll need to get started. First, a powerful engine is essential. Additionally, you’ll require a significant amount of high-strength steel. However, if these items are not readily available, don’t worry! There’s a simpler alternative you can try. Using common items, you can make a paper toy that mimics the behavior of a mini-helicopter!

Choose Your Dream Destination

If you had the opportunity to fly anywhere in the world, where would you go? The North Pole, Russia, a Caribbean island, or the South Pole? Once you’ve selected your destination, consider how you would like to travel there. Would you prefer to fly on an airplane or a helicopter? Take some time to list the advantages and disadvantages of both aircraft. Share your list with a friend or family member and discuss whether they agree with your choices and why.

Discover Fascinating Facts

Have you ever wondered which is the largest helicopter? Or perhaps the fastest? Conduct your own research on the internet and try to find answers to these questions, as well as any other intriguing inquiries you can think of related to helicopters. Share your newfound knowledge with a friend and engage in an informative discussion.

Sources of Wonder

  • http://science.howstuffworks.com/transport/flight/modern/helicopter.htm (accessed 11 April 2019)
  • http://www.nasa.gov/audience/forstudents/k-4/stories/what-is-a-helicopter-k4.html (accessed 11 April 2019)

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