A helicopter is a type of rotary aircraft in which thrust and lift are achieved through the use of spinning rotors. This allows the aircraft to take off and land vertically and hover at a fixed altitude. Despite helicopters being far smaller than most airplanes, the rapidly-spinning rotors make it very hard to control. Each helicopter is made of five main parts: the cockpit, main rotor, tail rotor, landing gear, and engine. This blog will explain each of the five main parts in further detail.
The cockpit is the brain of the helicopter. It serves as the central control unit and determines all the activity of the helicopter. The pilot and co-pilot reside in the cockpit, however some helicopters do not require two people to control. The four most important control the pilot uses in the cockpit are the cyclic, collective, anti-torque pedals, and throttle.
Just as the cockpit is the brain of a helicopter, the main rotor is the heart. It is perhaps the single most important component of the helicopter. The main rotor allows the pilot to control which way the helicopter turns, changes altitude, and moves laterally. The pilot commands the rotor with the cockpit controls linked to the swash plate assembly. The tail rotor is found at the rear end of a helicopter and is necessary to counteract the torque caused by the main rotor. If the tail rotor were not present, the aircraft would spin in the inverse direction of the main rotor.
Landing gear comes in a variety of types but skids and wheels are the most common. Floats, pontoons, and bear paws are also used. Bear paws are an attachment to skids used when the helicopter is landing off airport on unstable terrain providing more stability. The two types of helicopter engines are reciprocating and turbine. Reciprocating engines use pistons to convert pressure into motion thereby creating power. Turbine engines create power by mixing compressed air with fuel to create high-speed gas to turn the turbine blades.
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