The helicopter is indeed a marvel of engineering and while they have been around for a good few years, the chopper has undergone many developments. This form of transport is very popular today, as it offers the quickest route as the crow flies and here are few surprising facts about these amazing flying machines that you probably didn’t know.
Leonardo Da Vinci designed his own helicopter
In the late 15th century, Leonardo Da Vinci sketched a helicopter design, but it is not known if he actually built the machine, although he did understand the aerodynamics of a spiralling rotor that creates uplift.
NASA is designing a helicopter for Mars
One of the many transport options for a planned mission to Mars is to drop a craft onto the surface, which would change into a helicopter and fly around the planet taking high-resolution images, which would be sent back to Earth.
Helicopters are safer than fixed-wing aircraft
Statistically, you are safer in a helicopter than in a fixed-wing airplane and with hundreds of helicopter tours in every city, accidents are unheard of. The helicopter is thoroughly inspected before every flight and with rigid maintenance schedules that are carried out by qualified technicians, flying in a helicopter is very safe.
Helicopters are used in emergency rescue operations
Due to the manoeuvrability of the helicopter, this is the preferred method of transport for air and sea rescue and every country has helicopters that are used for rescue missions.
Helicopters are sometimes attacked by birds of prey
There are large eagles and hawks that sometimes attack a small helicopter, which is probably a territorial thing. The birds also attack drones and weather balloons. Any object that is in their airspace is regarded as a threat. Some birds of prey can fly as high as 6,000ft and the Australian Wedge-Tailed Eagle is a classic example of a bird that hates helicopters.
Helicopters have been used in jail breaks
There have been occasions where a prisoner has been freed, thanks to a helicopter that flew into the exercise yard at an agreed time and the prisoner managed to escape. While these antics are usually seen in the movies, there have been real prison escapes using helicopters, although in most cases, the prisoner is soon recaptured.
Circling the Earth in a helicopter
A Bell Lone-Ranger 206-L-1 became the first helicopter to encircle the Earth in 1982. The trip took almost 3 weeks and involved flying 260,000 miles across 26 countries, taking 246.5 hours to circle the Earth. The helicopter had special extra fuel tanks and was refuelled mid-air to enable the crew to create a new world record.
Helicopter tours are very popular and the best way to see Sydney, for example, is from a helicopter and if you would like to make a booking, there are online helicopter tour operators who offer 90-minute flights above and around the Sydney area. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and if you and your family are planning to visit Sydney, why not book a helicopter tour and see the beautiful countryside from the air?