7 Helicopter Facts That Will Blow You Away

Helicopter Facts: Medical Helicopter Mid-Flight from Below

If you are planning a helicopter tour you may be looking at helicopter facts as you prepare for your adventure in the air. This type of aircraft is truly fascinating, with a long history that dates back far further than you may think. Ideal for scenic tours and many other uses, helicopters are a safe, well-designed vessel that offers plenty of benefit to all. In a bit of a rush? We’ve summarised the article for you right here:

  1. ‘Helicopter’ roughly translates to ‘spiral wing’
  2. Helicopters are super agile vehicles
  3. They’ve been around for thousands of years
  4. Helicopters are best for visual tours
  5. Some helicopters are made to fight fires
  6. If designed differently, helicopters would fall apart
  7. Helicopter travel is safer than flying in a plane

Keep reading to find out some interesting helicopter facts that will make you long to take to the air.

Awe-Inspiring Helicopter Facts That Will Make You Want to Fly

Have you ever wondered how helicopters came to be or how they manage to be safer than planes? These helicopter facts show us just how versatile and resilient this type of aircraft has become since helicopters began their fascinating history.

1. The name roughly translates to spiral wing

The word helicopter comes from the French word hélicoptère, coined by Gustave Ponton d’Amécourt in 1861. This word, in turn, is a combination of the Greek work helix (spiral, whirl or convolution) and pteron, which means wing. Common names for the helicopter include copter, chopper, heli, and whirlybird.

2. Helicopters are extremely agile

Due to their size, shape and design, helicopters are extremely agile. They are able to take off, land, hover, and fly in different directions. They are also able to access hard to reach places, which is why they are often used in rescue situations. They make excellent transportation for photographers, too.

3. They have a long history

From the early Chinese bamboo flying tools that arise from around 400BC to Da Vinci’s flying machine and the very first recorded helicopter that was built during the first half-century of flight, this aircraft has a long history. The Focke-Wulf Fw 61 is the first operational helicopter that was built in 1936 but it was only in 1942 that helicopters began to be built and used.

4. Helicopters are the perfect choice for visual tours 

For scenic tours, helicopters offer the ideal way to hover over unspoiled game reserves, incredible waterfalls, iconic destinations such as the Golden Mile, and various other spots that are not easily reached by plane or car. Helicopter tours are exciting, rewarding, and ideal for anyone who has ever longed to see the world from new perspectives.

5. Some helicopters are made to fight fires

These copters are known as helitack. They are used for aerial firefighting over areas that cannot be accessed by firetrucks. Tanks or helibuckets are fitted to the sides. These can be released from up in the air, helping to douse fires with water that is taken from lakes, rivers or reservoirs. Sometimes, these aircraft also deliver firefighters into inaccessible areas, who rappel down from the copters.

6. Helicopters would shake themselves apart if they were designed differently

The vibration of helicopters is so strong that it would tear the aircraft apart if they were not designed so cleverly. In reality, even with a strong vibration, the copter is designed in a way that allows vibrations. This comes down to blade height, added weights, vibration dampers or even mechanical feedback systems. Thanks to the smart design, vibrations are harmless.

7. Helicopter travel is surprisingly safe

Not only are helicopters safe for travel, they are even safer than planes. The reason for this is that helicopters are made to allow pilots to have the chance to land safely even when the engine stops working. Often, they can be landed without any damage at all.

Ready to find out more about helicopter adventures? Browse our full range of helicopter tours in Durban and surrounds and plan the adventure you have always longed to enjoy!