Interesting Helicopter Facts

by Nick Stevenson May 16, 2017

  • In 1861 a machine was called a helicopter, but it could not lift off the ground.
  • Helicopters are designed with spinning rotors, which can include two or more blades that provide the lift and thrust that make vertical flight possible.
  • Most helicopters have two rotors, one on the top and one on the tail.
  • Because helicopters are capable of vertical take-off and landing they are ideal for accessing difficult to reach locations in emergency situations.
  • Helicopters tend to be much noisier than airplanes, and they vibrate a lot.
  • Helicopters are capable of hovering but it is a difficult maneuver to control due to the air flow created by the rotors of the helicopter itself.
  • If the helicopter's engine stops, the rotor will often allow the helicopter to land safely because it continues to spin.
  • It is believed that there are approximately 45,000 helicopters operating around the world today. This number includes military helicopters.
  • There is a nut holding the main rotor to the shaft of the helicopter, called the 'Jesus nut'. This nut was named as such when a pilot said, "Oh Jesus, if that nut comes off..."
  • Helicopters can be used to lift heavy items into place. The Russian helicopter MIL Mi-12 Homer could lift 40,204kg to a height of 2255 meters.
  • The first person was rescued at sea by a helicopter in 1944. It is estimated that the use of helicopters has saved more than 3 million lives in war and peace times around the world since then.
  • Helicopters are also referred to as helos, whirlybirds, choppers, and copters.
  • Helicopters travel at speeds much slower than airplanes, but the advancing rotor blade can exceed the speed of sound.
  • If helicopters were not designed as well as they are, the vibration would be capable of shaking them apart.
  • The fastest recorded speed of a helicopter is roughly 248 miles per hour.
  • The farthest a helicopter has traveled without landing is 2213 miles.
  • Helicopters are often used to take photographs and film footage from the air.
  • Helicopters can help fight forest fires as they can carry helibuckets full of water to be dropped on strategic areas.

Nick Stevenson
Nick Stevenson