The biggest helicopter advantage is probably the possibility of vertical takeoff, hover and vertical landing. Piloting a helicopter is different from piloting the airplane. Operating costs of helicopters are in general higher than aircraft. Generally, helicopters consume more energy to overcome the same route then aircraft.
- In the event of an engine failure helicopter isn’t dropping like a stone. If pilot correctly perform so-called autorotation then helicopter can still land safely after engine failure.
- We can mount a special wide skids to allow heli to land on the snow.
- There are also helicopters which can land on the water and take off from the water. On helicopters skids we can install special floats. Some machines are also equipped with a special inflatable emergency rafts-balloons which allow the helicopter to land on the water in case of failure.
- Helicopters may have retractable landing gear skids or retractable landing gear wheels. Retractable landing gear wheel reduces air drag and allow to achieve higher speeds.
1. Piston engine helicopter
(most have 2-4 seats )
Example: Robinson R22, R44: This helicopter is easy to recognize by the characteristic fin – a machine that looks a bit like a combination of whale and dolphin – it’s not the most beautiful design … but it is functional and popular. The cost of each hour of flight in Robinson R44 is in the range of 400-600 euro. R22 and R44 have piston engines. R66 has a turbine engine. In the middle we can find T-bar. I have heard some stories and I always like to sit in the front left of this heli, because I am afraid that another passenger would catch the T-Bar when scared.
2. Turbine powered helicopters
( 3 and more seats )
Some love the sound of turbine startup in the morning.
Example: Bell 206 / AS350 / EC130B4 / H130 are some of the most popular turbine-powered helicopters. They take aboard 4-7 passengers depending on the configuration. They are equipped with many systems to increase security. Instead of the tail rotor in H130, we have a special turbine-like fan (fenestron). Cost of flight hour of those starts from ~1000 Euro.
Counter the torque
How helicopter looks? Classical system (Sikorski) is: one propeller at the top and a small propeller / fan at the rear of the machine (tail rotor / fenestron / notar). However, there are helicopters that look completely different:
- Tandem ( Chinook )
- Transverse ( Osprey / FW61 )
- Coaxial ( Kamov)
- Intermeshing ( KMax )
- Quad ( UAV / De bothezat )
- hybrid helis ( Airbus X3 )
Each of these structures varies between each other, each has its advantages and disadvantages.
Interesting fact – though it may not seem but big “turtle like” Chinook is one of the fastest helicopter used by the US Army. Chinook is faster than many classically-looking helicopters such as the Apache / Cobra / Viper or Mi24. The tandem system allows Chinook to achieve greater speed ( Google: retreating blade stall and asymmetry of lift)
It catch my attention on how big the AH-64 is when compared to the UH-60 or TigeraHAD when we see them next to each other. Another topic – it is hard for me to describe the wind caused by the Mi-26, you have to simply survive this to talk about it. Mi-24 whereas – greeting for pilots – is a very interesting machine whose appearance compensates for vibration and noise inside it. Last – Huey and Cobra sound is just iconic.
For gyroplane I’ve made separate topic
Special: Ultralight helicopter ( 1-2 person )
Most ultralight rotary wings are single-seat-helicopters, although there are some two-seaters. Ultralight heli offer lower operating costs compared to the “normal” machines. The cost of their flight is between 50-200 euros per hour. Standard car premium fuel that can be bought on a regular gas station. They offer speed flight in the range of 120-160km/h and a range of 200-400km without refueling. Most of them fit into a larger garage. Ultra-light helicopters flies a little different than the larger machines. Depending on country – we can land them in the garden, and doing so often bigger machine that’s more about the registration of the landing.