Top Helicopter Facts
Helicopters are one of the most versatile vehicles ever designed and flying one is the most exhilarating and rewarding experience you could ever wish to accomplish. We’ve put our heads together and created a list of our favourite helicopter facts to prove just how amazing they are.
- The first working helicopter is believed to have been the Focke-Wulf Fw 61, first flown in 1936. The layout of the modern helicopter with a large main rotor and smaller rear tail rotor was first used in the VS-300, designed in 1939 by Russian-American Igor Sikorsky. The R-4, also designed by Igor Sikorsky in 1942 was the first mass produced helicopter.
- Hovering can be the most difficult skill when flying a helicopter. Constant control is required to offset gusty air created by the helicopter.
- The first person to be rescued at sea by a helicopter was in 1944. It is estimated that the use of helicopters has saved more than 3 million lives in war and peace times around the world since then.
- There are over 15,000 civil helicopters operating in more than 157 other countries around the world. If you include military helicopters it is estimated that there are more than 45,000 operating worldwide.
- As well as search and rescue, helicopters are useful for tourism, medical transport, fighting fires, aerial photography, military activity and more.
- French fighter pilot and helicopter test pilot Didier Delsalle became the first person in history to land on the summit of Mount Everest at 29,035ft in 2005. He completed this astonishing feat whilst piloting the the Eurocopter AS350 Squirrel. To date, he is the only person to land on the peak of Mount Everest and also holds the record for highest take-off from this point.
- The fastest helicopter is the Sikorsky X2 which travelled 259 mph in a test flight over Florida in 2010, breaking a record which had stood since 1986 when a Westland Lynx managed 249 mph.
- The first reference to a rotor system is credited to inventor Leonardo da Vinci, who designed an ‘aerial screw’ in 1480. A full-scale variant was not constructed during his lifetime.
- The word ‘helicopter’ was coined by French inventor Gustave de Ponton d’Amécourt, who used it to name his small, steam-powered rotorcraft. The word helicopter roughly translates to ‘Spiral Copter’ in English.
- The current world record speed for an eastbound round-the-world helicopter trip is 85 mph. The record was set by Edward Kasprowicz in an Augusta A109S Grand.
Do you know of an interesting fact? Let us know in the comments, we feel like we’ve heard them all before and we like a good surprise.
Ever thought of flying a helicopter?
Hummingbird Helicopters is the country’s only combined helicopter and UAV drone pilot training school. You don’t need any prior experience to learn how to fly a helicopter. Learning to fly a helicopter is a skill that takes a lot of practice and skill to master but the rewards are exhilarating and a big life accomplishment to be proud of.
“Our instructors are highly experienced Commercial Helicopter Pilots with a combined total of 6000 flying hours. We provide all your training needs in-house so there’s no need to worry about anything. We look forward to passing on everything we know to you, in an informal but safety driven atmosphere.” – Captain Matthew M. Rake
The first step in achieving your goal of gaining a Private Pilot’s Licence or a Light Aircraft’s Pilot Licence is to give us a ring or pop in for a chat. We will discuss everything with you – from the course syllabus to the final flight test. And of course, we can show you around our Robinson R22 Beta II and R44 Raven II.
Ready to take on a new challenge? You can get behind the controls of a helicopter and experience the thrill first hand.