This past week has been a productive one in terms of my research. I have ordered three books on the history of helicopters, how to fly them, and an FAA guide on vertical flight mechanics and machines. I also downloaded a book on the relationship between the United States Coast Guard and the development of the helicopter after World War II. All of these sources will be very useful when they arrive for doing in depth research on the role of helicopters and how they are designed and flown. I also hope to be hearing back from a current member of the Coast Guard with his take on the use of helicopters in the smallest sector of the military.
This week I looked in depth at the main components of a helicopter and the function they have. Starting with the main rotor blade that provides the lift for the helicopter just like the wings on an airplane. The pilot can control lift by increasing or decreasing the speed at which the helicopter’s rotor spins. The stabilizer sits on top of the main rotor blade and it is essentially a weight that rotates to reduce vibrations in the rotor to stabilize the helicopter while in flight. The transmission in a helicopter is exactly like one in a car. It channels power from the engine to rotors. The engine is a given, it generates the power for the copter and most modern helicopters have gas turbine engines. The fuselage is the main body part of the helicopter where the cockpit and seating area are. Inside the cockpit there are hundreds of controls used to fly the helicopter. Starting with the cyclic-pitch lever which is used to control the angle of the rotor blades allowing the helicopter to tilt side to side or forward and backward. Another main component in controlling the helicopter is the collective-pitch lever which controls the helicopter’s up and down movements. The foot pedals are another key part in flying a helicopter. The pedals control the tail rotors which point the helicopter’s nose either left or right. Continuing with parts of the tail is the tail boom. The tail boom is the long straight pole coming out of the fuselage that holds all the tail parts. The anti-torque tail rotor is the small rotor on the rear of the helicopter used to counter the torque from the main rotor and allow the pilot to have control.
Each week I am learning more and more about how helicopters fly from online videos and my research as well as learning where it all started a hundred years ago. This coming week I plan to start the book on the history of the helicopter as well as contact the American Helicopter Museum about a visit on the weekend of the 20th. This coming weekend I am visiting colleges I have been accepted to so I will not get as much research time in as I would like but I will definitely be reading in the car!
Until next week,