How High Can a Helicopter Fly?

Jul 16, 2019 | Liberty, The Helicopter Company News & Events

How High Can a Helicopter Fly?

The height at which a helicopter can typically fly depends on the power of the engine to breathe the thinner air, as well as the weight of the helicopter body. Different types of helicopters can go to different altitudes. Some notable names include:

Helicopter Name

First Flight

Highest Altitude Records

Sikorsky R-4


12,000 feet

The Bell 47


18,550 feet

Aerospatiale SA-313 Alouette II


26,932 feet

Bell UH-1 Iroquois


14,500 feet

Mil Mi-8


30,000 feet

Boeing CH-47 Chinook


>18000 feet

AgustaWestland AW109


13,800 feet

Sikorsky H-60 Black Hawk


19,151 feet



29,000 feet

Robinson R-22


14,000 feet

Mil Mi-26


8,500-10,200 feet

Eurocopter X3


12,500 feet

What are the Various Uses of Helicopters?

Helicopters can fly at slow speeds, move laterally and even fly backwards. They can hover over a particular area and even land in a very small space, not much larger than the diameter of its rotor blades. Therefore, they come in handy for a number of purposes, such as:

  • Rescue missions
  • Air-ambulance
  • Construction activities
  • Cargo supplies
  • Aerial surveys of inaccessible areas
  • Aerial photography and shooting
  • Army combat missions
  • Tourism activities

How Low Can a Helicopter Fly Legally in the United States?

Helicopters can fly as low as they want as long as the operation is conducted without hazard to persons or property on the surface.

We at Liberty abide by 135 regulations while carrying passengers which would restrict us to 300′ day time and 500′ nighttime.

Is it Legal to Land Helicopters Anywhere in the US?

Rules regarding helicopter landings in the US are much more relaxed than those for winged aircraft.

  • No law says that helicopters need helipads to land
  • The FAA has to be notified regarding permanent landing areas
  • Helipads have to meet the required design requirements, as stipulated by the FAA
  • Different county and state laws can have separate clauses
  • A person requires the right kind of property to facilitate a safe departure flight path

What are Some Interesting Facts about Helicopters?

  • Helicopters are also called choppers, rotorcrafts, copters, and whirlybirds, among other names
  • Most helicopters have two rotors, one on the top and one on the tail
  • If the helicopter engine stops mid-air pilot’s are trained to perform an auto-rotation to safely bring themselves and the passengers to the ground.
  • They can lift very heavy items. Russian helicopter MIL Mi-12 Homer has been able to lift more than 40,000 kgs to a height of 2,255 meters.
  • Advancing rotors of a helicopter can exceed the speed of sound, even though they travel at speeds much lower than airplanes.
  • Leonardo da Vinci is said have designed a helicopter, according to a 15th century design paper
  • Helicopters are sometimes used in cherry farming, to dry excessively rain-soaked cherries and prevent them from exploding
  • There are over 56,200 helicopters around the world.

How Many Types of Helicopters Are There?

Although they can be classified based on many parameters, there are 3 main types of helicopters:

  1. Rigid Rotor System
  2. Semi-Rigid Rotor System
  3. Fully Articulated