How Does A Helicopter Work? Learn How To Fly A Helicopter In 2 Minutes 14 Seconds


Right, you’re going to watch this film and then I want you to promptly go out to your local airfield and test out your new skills on the first unattended chopper you see, ok? 😀

No, but this is an awesome little short clip from Straight Up! Helicopters in Action, a film produced by SK Films Inc. for the National Air and Space Museum’s Lockheed Martin IMAX® Theater that concisely covers exactly how to fly the Bell 47 helicopter, check it out:


    Helicopters have changed the whole concept of the physics of flying, which of course, as we all knew in our early school days that, a page torn out of a notebook, if folded in a certain way could fly for quite a distance. This is not quite the case with a helicopter, which can stay hovering at one point for quite some time and then move off with quite a bit of speed to another destination, it certainly looks a bit strange to those who are all too familiar with airplanes, which need a runway for take off, whereas a helicopter can take off and land on the same point, of course needing a thirty by thirty meter space to land due to the overhead rotor. The helicopter was called the hero of the 2005 earthquake in the North of Pakistan. On the morning of October the 8th 2005, at about 8: 45 am an earthquake of about 7.6 magnitude hit Pakistans Northern areas. Cities were devestated, and due to the mountainous terrain, getting aid to the afflicted people was going to be an impossible task, at this point, the government of General Pervez Musharraf called in the international community for help, in the form of helicopters, this made the whole operation of rescue and distribution of food aid, tents, warm clothing and medicines and medical help an easy and managable task. This was considered to be the worlds largest ever helicopter rescue after the South Asian Sunami on December 26th 2004.

  2. I am writing this topic as a number of my students want to know how a helicopter works and how to fly one.

    Well, a helicopter works on a very basic principle, and that is to press down wind with such a force that it would create a vacuum above and climb into that vacuum.

    Then comes another question about holding the main body in a stationary position, that it does not start spinning opposite to the main rotor? This movement is controlled by the rear rotor, which, within the cockpit is controlled by the two pedals under the pilots feet, as these pedals control the pitch of the rear rotor blades, these pedals can make the helicopter body turn in any direction as required, but the movement of these pedals must be gentle as a sudden movement can cause the copter to spin out of control, and if the rear rotor even slightly touches anything like a billboard or any other obstacle, this can result in a disaster.

    The power to the rear rotor is through a shaft running through the tail boom all the way from the gearbox which gets its power from the main turbine above. In this gearbox the speed of the rear rotor is pre-calculated through a proper gear ratio to keep the copter exactly straight when the pedals are in a neutral position.

    Although almost in all cases when the copter is a few feet above the ground it has a slight tendency to veer of to the right which can be corrected by softly moving the Cyclic control to the left, but this must also be done gently as a sudden tug can cause the copter to roll to the left violently, thus resulting in the main rotor blades to touch the ground, throwing the whole copter to the right and subsequently causing a serious crash.
    The Cyclic is the control which can make the copter to roll to the right or left, or to tilt ahead and cause the copter to move in that direction, pulling back on the cyclic control lightly can cause the copter to stop in mid-air and the cyclic held in a neutral position can let the copter hover in one place which makes it ideal for rescue or other missions where being able to stay in a stationary position is an advantage no other aircraft has.

    But how does the helicopter rise up in the air? This is done with the help of the Collective which has the Throttle control on it; the throttle operates in the same way as it does on a motorbike handle. Once the main rotor blades have been brought to a proper R.P.M. then gently start to lift up the collective which might remind you of the handbrake between the front seats in certain cars, but here its action is quite different, the collective changes the pitch of the main rotor blades giving the copter the required lift.

    Almost all these basic operations in a helicopter are carried out with the help of hydraulics so that the pilot is not laboring or fighting the controls.

    The helicopter has by far an advantage that no other form of air transport has to stay stationary until almost the whole mission is over and then move of to its next destination.