The Helicopter and its Basic Components

Principles of Flight

A helicopter is a heavier than air flying machine that has a lifting force created by a main rotor according to aerodynamic principles.

The basic components of a helicopter are as follows:

Main rotor. Put in motion by the power plant (engine).

Fuselage. Intended for accomodation of crew, passengers, equipment and cargo.

Landing gear, that is, arrangement intended for movement over the ground J6_ or for parking.

Tail rotor. Provides directional equilibrium and directional control of the helicopter.

Propulsion system which sets in motion the lifting and tail rotors and auxiliary systems.

Transmission transfers the torque from the power plant to the main and tail rotors.

All components of the helicopter are attached to the fuselage or are set in it.

Flight is possible for a flying machine if there is a lifting force counterbalancing its weight. The lifting force of the helicopter originates at the main rotor. By the rotation of the main rotor in the air a thrust force is developed perpendicular to the plane of rotor rotation. If the main rotor rotates in the horizontal plane, then its thrust force T is directed vertically upwards (Figure 4a), that is, vertical flight is possible. The characteristics of the flight depend on the correlation between the thrust force of the main rotor and the weight of the helicopter. If the thrust force equals the weight of the helicopter, then it will remain motionless in the air. If, though, the thrust force is greater than the weight, then the helicopter will pass from being motionless into a vertical climb. If the thrust force is less than the weight, a vertical descent will result.

The plane of rotation of the main rotor with respect to the ground can be inclined in any direction (Figure 4b, c). In this case the rotor will fulfill a two-fold function; its vertical component Y will be the lift force and the horizontal component P — the propulsive force. Under the influence of

The Helicopter and its Basic Components

Figure 4. Principle of flight controls of a helicopter, a – vertical flight; b – horizontal flight forwards; c – horizontal flight backwards.

this force the helicopter moves forward in flight. JJ_

If the plane of the main rotor is inclined backwards, the helicopter will move backwards. (Figure 4c). The inclination of the plane of rotation to the right or to the left causes motion of the helicopter in the corresponding direction.