AS9120B, ISO 9001:2015, and FAA AC 0056B ACCREDITED

How Helicopters Hover in the Air

When discussing aircraft, it is important to consider that the term covers both fixed-wing and rotary-wing variations. Airplanes are a common example of fixed-wing aircraft, featuring rigid wings and powerful engines that allow them to create ample lift for long distance flight. Meanwhile, helicopters are the most notable form of rotary-wing aircraft, and they utilize an assembly of rotary blades that rapidly spin around a centralized mass atop the fuselage to create lift. With these two distinct forms of flight, it is only natural that both forms of aircraft widely differ in their capabilities. One of the biggest differences between airplanes and helicopters is the ability to hover and stand still in the air at any point in flight, an ability that is generally not held by vehicles with airplane wings.

Before getting into the fine details of how a helicopter hovers, it is first important to have a better understanding of how such aircraft create lift. As discussed before, helicopters utilize rotating blades in lieu of wings, and their shape allows them to create a pressure difference above and below each blade where pressure is lower on the underside. This results in the blade being sucked upward, and by adjusting the pitch angle of the rotor blades, a pilot can optimally manage the  helicopter. Alongside lift, three other forces act on a helicopter during flight, those of weight, thrust, and drag.

The weight of the helicopter is simply how heavy it is, and it acts against lift. Because of this, lift must overcome weight for the helicopter to remain airborne. Thrust is the force that acts in a forward horizontal direction, allowing the helicopter to maneuver over the ground. The final force is drag, that of which acts against thrust. Drag is created by a solid object moving through a fluid like air, and the various structures of a helicopter will all add drag to some degree.

With these various forces in mind, a helicopter can get off the ground as long as lift overcomes weight, and once the two are equal, the helicopter will hover in place. With a collective control and swashplate assembly, pilots can gradually add or remove lift through pitch adjustments to safely move on the vertical axis. Unlike airplane wings that rely on forward thrust for ample lift generation, helicopters only need to manage the main rotor blade assembly. This is the major difference that allows for helicopters to hover in the air, alongside the pilot utilizing the Cyclic control to maintain positioning.

With the ability to hover in place, coupled with the capability of 360 degrees of movement, helicopters can perform many unique roles that the typical airplane cannot. This includes operation in dense settings, search and rescue operations, tourism, and more. If you are an owner or operator of a helicopter and you are searching for a reputable distributor for procuring all the various parts and components that you need for your projects, look no further than Procurement Domain.

Procurement Domain is a purchasing platform belonging to the ASAP Semiconductor family of websites, and we present customers access to an inventory containing over 2 billion new, used, obsolete, and hard-to-find parts that have been sourced from top global manufacturers that we trust. As you explore our offerings, make use of our Instant RFQ services for the means of requesting and receiving customized solutions on items of interest. We at Procurement Domain believe in a hands-off purchasing process, meaning that once you send us a completed RFQ, we will handle the sourcing, shipments, logistics, and quality control for you. Experience why customers continuously choose Procurement Domain for all their operational needs when you get in touch with a team member of ours through phone or email!


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