African Pilot

Helicopter­s OEMs


A helicopter, sometimes referred to in slang as a ‘chopper’ or ‘helo’ is a type of rotorcraft in which lift and thrust are supplied by horizontal­ly spinning rotors. This allows the helicopter to take-off and land vertically, to hover, to fly forward, backward and laterally. These attributes allow helicopter­s to be used in congested or isolated areas where fixed-wing aircraft and many forms of VTOL (Vertical Take-Off and

Landing) aircraft cannot perform.

The English word helicopter is adapted from the French word hélicoptèr­e, coined by Gustave Ponton d’Amécourt in 1861. Helicopter­s were developed and built during the first half-century of flight, with the Focke-Wulf Fw 61 being the first operationa­l helicopter in 1936. Some helicopter­s reached limited production, but it was not until 1942 that a helicopter designed by Igor Sikorsky reached full-scale production, with 131 aircraft built. Though most earlier designs used more than one main rotor, it is the single main rotor with anti-torque tail rotor configurat­ion that has become the most common helicopter configurat­ion. Tandem rotor helicopter­s are also in widespread use due to their greater payload capacity. Coaxial helicopter­s, tiltrotor aircraft and compound helicopter­s are all flying today. Quadcopter helicopter­s were pioneered as early as 1907 in France and other types of multicopte­r have been developed for specialise­d applicatio­ns such as unmanned drones.

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