Common Misconceptions About Flying a Helicopter

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When it comes to equipment or machines that are not commonly used among people, there also comes common misconceptions or myths regarding their operation. This is especially true of helicopters. Here, we will examine a few of the biggest misunderstandings and shed some light on the reality of what is behind them.

"Helicopters are dangerous to fly."

Statistically speaking, flying a helicopter is no more dangerous than flying a fixed wing aircraft. In fact, according to accident report data, most helicopter accidents aren’t caused by mechanical or engine failures. The main contributor to helicopter accidents is human error, such as running out of fuel, striking low obstacles, or quite simply not being aware of one’s surroundings and losing situational awareness. Pilots are vigorously trained to be ready for such situations, but always ensure they are operating a safe and airworthy aircraft.

"Helicopters are too hard to fly."

Sure, piloting a helicopter is no easy feat, but the fact of the matters is anyone with good coordination could learn to properly operate a rotary wing aircraft. It will take time and practice to learn essential maneuvers such as hovering, but the process is no different from learning how to fly an airplane or even driving a car. Becoming a pilot requires time, hard work, and determination. The same would apply to learning any other new skill.

“When a helicopter engine fails, you just fall straight to the ground.”

This is probably the biggest myth about flying a helicopter. Because it doesn’t fit the same visual structure as an airplane, many people assume that an unpowered helicopter will simply fall like a brick. This is just not true. In fact, some helicopters can glide further than some airplanes. Just like an airplane, should a pilot encounter some kind of power failure, they can initiate a controlled descent to the ground, known as an autorotation. With enough training and practice, a helicopter pilot can enter the autorotation state which allows the rotor blades to continue rotating due to the air flowing upward through them. The pilot can maintain control and use their time to find a suitable landing spot.

Have you heard of other myths about piloting helicopters you’d like us to clear up? If so, or if you want to become a helicopter pilot yourself, contact us. Hillsboro Aero Academy is the perfect option for receiving helicopter flight lessons from experienced instructors. We provide instruction under an FAA-approved curriculum where safety is our top priority. Contact us today!