What’s the Difference Between a Helicopter and a Plane

Apr 18, 2019 | Liberty, The Helicopter Company News & Events

Looking at both a helicopter and an airplane allow you to make some serious comparisons between the physical features of the aircrafts. However, the reasons why they are so different are not always as obvious. We often have people ask us questions about helicopters on our tours and we love showing off the reasons why our helicopter pilots prefer their type of craft. To start satisfying your curiosity, here are a few notable differences between planes and helicopters that everyone should know.

Understand the Lift

The primary difference between a helicopter and an airplane is the way that the mechanics are designed to generate lift. Helicopters use their rapidly spinning rotors to create the momentum required to lift the aircraft. These rotors can be adjusted to perform maneuvers such as turning or hovering. Airplanes, however, are designed with mechanics that require them to be constantly moving through space so that the air flows over their wings. This is why airplanes require a long runway, while helicopters can simply take off from a smaller location.

Following the Law

Both forms of transportation are bound by laws and regulations that have the public’s safety in mind. However, airplanes have more laws governing their use due to their size and the amount of passengers that they can carry. For instance, airplanes are required to stay at specific altitudes when they are flying over people or buildings that exist in a populated area. Helicopter pilots follow the best practices for safety regarding altitude. However, they are allowed to get closer to landmarks than airplanes as long as they do not do anything that poses a substantial risk to human health or property.

Keeping Control

Airplanes are known for being easier to control than helicopters and some of the larger passenger jets have computerized controls that do most of the work for the pilots. Helicopters require both of the pilot’s hands to be on the controls, and their feet are also involved. While it may seem as though having more to do would be harder for the helicopter pilot, the truth is that most prefer it this way. Being able to simultaneously use multiple controls is what allows helicopter pilots to make maneuvers that create the best helicopter tour.

Arranging for Flights

When it all comes down to it, the difference that most people care about is how easy or hard it is to get around. While both private jets and helicopters are available for chartering to and from different locations, it is typically harder and more costly to arrange for a private jet simply because they are bigger and require a large airport. A helicopter charter is easier to reserve and it gives a closer view of the territory that you cover so your trip is more enjoyable.

The air travel industry provides you with tons of options for finding the ideal type of transportation to fit your needs. While a plane works great for long distance travel, helicopters have benefits for short rides around the city and sightseeing tours. Now that you know the key differences between the two, you can make your travel decisions with