26 May

Why should you fly a helicopter?

Helo, chopper, whirlybird, copter…yes, it is still the same thing disguised under many names. For the first time in Baltic Aviation Academy’s history, we are writing about helicopters. And no, we will never betray our first true love for the airplanes, however, there always comes time for growth and for us it is the beginning of the helicopter training!

So for the beginning, we want to give you a quick read about the helicopter usage, its popularity, and most importantly, entangle some fun helicopter facts along the way.

Single or twin?

Before we begin any sort of discussion about the helicopters, let’s understand a few terms. Single engine, or Performance Class 3, helicopters are just like its name says – helicopters with one engine. These types of aircraft are only permitted to fly via so called “heli-lines”, which are a set course above the cities. This is needed because in case of an engine failure, helicopter pilot would not cause damage or fatalities when landing helicopter by using only “autorotation”.

Twin/multi-engine, or Performance Class 2, helicopters are the ones that are capable to continue flight even if one engine becomes inoperative; however, they do need to look for an immediate landing location by flying forward or backwards only. Twin/multi-engine, or Performance Class 1, helicopters are capable to continue flight even with one engine inoperative.

Knowing all this, it does not necessarily mean that twin-engine helicopters are safer than single-engine ones, because every single case is different. However, the most important thing is that all machinery should be operated with care, attentiveness, and safety in mind, therefore leaving less room for incidents and accidents.

Adventurous or advantageous?

Helicopter is a unique piece of transportation and there is no doubt about it. Its advantages start from the smaller size and lighter weight, ability to take off and land vertically, possibility to fly lower and slower than airplanes do, and the biggest helicopter witchcraft is that it can hover at zero ground speed. Helicopters are considered the safest aircraft to fly in bad weather conditions, because of its ability to slow down, stop and fly backwards or sideways. Knowing all these performance factors we can certainly say that helicopter has numerous advantages over aircraft, but at the same time, who wouldn’t want to go on an adventure and hover over the city?

Popular or growing?

It is believed that to this day there are approximately 45,000 helicopters all around the world, and this number also includes military helicopters. According to Honeywell’s helicopter industry analysis, in the period of 2010 – 2014 industry expanded by 4,300 helicopters. For the upcoming four year period, it is projected to grow by 10% to 22% and reach over 5,000 new helicopter injections into the industry. 25% of these new global deliveries are planned for Europe, 32% for Middle East and Africa, 28% for Latin America, 20% for Asia Pacific, and 18% for North America continent.

67% of the planned helicopter purchases account for the light single-engine and twin-engine models. This number has been increasing over the years, while intermediate and medium twin-engine helicopter demand remains stable. If anything else, these numbers makes us smile, because it is obvious that industry is growing in size and usage. What that means for everyone who dreams about piloting the helicopter is more popular and easier to attain license, improved infrastructure for private and commercial helicopter operation, and most importantly, more career opportunities.

Useful or unique?

Now that you are informed about some numbers regarding the helicopter industry growth, let’s look at its usage possibilities. Helicopters are mainly used in the tourism, general utility industries, as well as emergency medical services. Because of its unique ability to take-off and land vertically, helicopters can reach secluded or difficult to access areas. Over 3 million people have already been rescued since the first one in 1944. Law enforcement, news and television, as well as oil and gas industries are well known helicopter users. Helicopters are capable of lifting and carrying heavy items like construction materials, huge volumes of water for fire distinguishing, or difficult to move machinery. The biggest helicopter which could lift 40,204 kilograms into 2,255 meter height was Russian Mil Mi-12 Homer built in 1968. Just like every aircraft that was ever built is suppose to fulfill a certain role, by the wide application and unique performance capabilities, helicopters have fairly gained its name recognition and broadened the niche.

Different or fascinating?

Helicopter, just like its cousin airplane, is capable of providing transportation in various situations, however, its occasionally funny differences makes it stand out from the rest of air transportation machines. Helicopters are much noisier and vibrate a lot more than airplanes do, and if helicopters weren’t designed and built the way they are, vibration could easily shake them apart. Helicopters are also much slower than airplanes, because their rotor blades’ speed depends on the speed of the copter. But they can travel across oceans, however, only if additional fuel or in-flight refueling is used.

As you might guess, there are a lot more interesting facts about helicopters, but we believe this primary information is exactly what you need to spike up the interest. And remember, an aircraft can take you from airport-to-airport, but a helicopter can take you anywhere!