Different Parts of a Helicopter and How They Help It Take Flight

A helicopter shares some similarities with an airplane in that it follows the same principles of flight in order to take up off the ground. But the manner in which the helicopter achieves and implements this is vastly different. This aircraft is able to maneuver quickly back and forth because of the way that the helicopter interior parts implement the principles of flight. Below are a few descriptions of helicopters parts and the functions that they serve.

Turbine Engine

This engine works similarly to how the turbine engine works on an airplane. Air is heated and compressed through the engine compressor, where it is then put through a burner and mixed with fuel. This generates energy and heat which is then put through two sets of turbines, the first which drives the compressor and the second which manipulates the main driveshaft. The energy generated by the engine goes through transmission and a power turbine shaft.

The Cyclic

Commonly called the control stick, the cyclic is used to control the speed and direction of the helicopter. Located in front of the pilot seat, the cyclic increases the main rotor’s pitch but it does so unevenly. In turn, this causes a tilt in the main rotors. This enables the pilot to dictate the helicopter’s direction; whatever direction the cyclic is pointing towards is the direction where the helicopter goes. 

Main Rotor

The main rotor is the upper spinning blade on top of the helicopter that helps enable the body to get enough thrust for liftoff. These blades act as a single disk when rotating at the right revolutions per minute (RPM). The altitude, speed, and direction of the helicopter is controlled when the pilot uses their controls (the collective and cyclic control) to input pitch.

The Collective

The collective refers to the flight control located left of the pilot’s seat.. This control is used to manipulate pitch, and thus can be used by the pilot to climb and descend. In its stationary position, the collective control is at a 35-degree angle to the floor. The pilot can use this to increase the pitch to the helicopter’s blades.


Located directly below the main rotor of the helicopter, the belt transmission’s role is to control the mast that turns the main rotor and to also decrease high speed revolutions that are spurred by the main drive shaft.

Pedals & Tail Rotor

According to Newton’s third law, for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. This applies to how helicopters work, as the force of the rotating rotor blades on these caircrafts cause the fuselage to rotate in the opposite direction. This force is called torque and it is counteracted by the pilot by increasing pitch to the tail rotor blades using the pedals in the cockpit. When helicopter pilots manipulates the tail rotor’s pitch, they can maneuver their helicopter to turn left and right.

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