Helicopters are one of the most interesting things made ever by humans. But, do you know some key facts about these air-floating machines? Here is an interesting and knowledgeable trivia about helicopters.
Cost of Helicopter
Helicopters are very costly. A new helicopter will cost from USD $4 Million to USD $50 Million, depending upon the sitting capacity and functions.
Why are helicopters so much costlier than road-automobiles, is an interesting question. Well, the simple reason is – a helicopter has complex machinery inside with several components and safety devices. To manufacture a helicopter requires delicate knowledge of engineering and rigorous safety tests.
Due to the complexity of the components, manufacturing rate of helicopter is very slow. Hence a helicopter is several folds costlier than road-automobiles.
Here are prices of some famous Helicopter Models :
|Helicopter Model||Approx. Price (in Million USD $)|
|CH-53 Sea Stallion||24|
|CH-46 Sea Knight||10|
Helicopter Engine and Fuel Consumption
Helicopter engines are of generally two types.
- Piston Engine : Pistone Engines are similar to Automobile Engines. They are used in small helicopters and small-aeroplanes. They run on a fuel called Avgas (Aviation Gasoline), which is a very high quality filtered Gasoline and much cleaner than Automotive Gasoline. A Piston Engine usually consumes 50 liter of fuel in an hour.
- Turbine Engine : Medium and large sized helicopters and aircrafts use Turbine Engines. Turbine Engines are small sized and can effectively produce large amount of power. These engines are costlier than Pistone Engines. They run on ATF of type Jet A or Jet A-1. A Turbine Engine normally uses 100 liter of fuel per hour.
The speed of helicopter depends upon several factors like type of engine, type of rotor system, wind speed etc.
A typical 2-Seater trainer style cruise helicopter can attain a maximum speed of 160 km per hour. On the other hand, a 5-Seater Turbine Engine operated helicopter can fly at a maximum speed of 225 km per Hour.
Helicopter Vs Aeroplane
Helicopters and aeroplanes have their own benefits. Helicopters are usually best for sightseeing, rescue operations, police patrolling, medical emergencies, forest operations, chasing criminals etc. Helicopters can land and take off vertically and also can hover at one place. They can rotate 360 degree while on hover hence best suited for sightseeing. Also, they can be operated at very slow speeds as well. They can be landed almost anywhere and can enter places where aeroplanes can’t.
Aeroplanes on the other hand are faster than helicopter. They are best suited for distant journeys. They can also accommodate larger number of people than a helicopter. But, aeroplanes can’t be landed anywhere and also they can’t be rotated easily. they can only be operated at high speeds.
So, helicopters and fixed-wing aircrafts have their own benefits and drawbacks.
Learning to Fly Helicopter
Learning to fly a helicopter is a costly job. The average cost of renting an instructor and a helicopter is about USD $175 to USD $250 that depends upon location and helicopter model. USA FAA requires at least 40 hours of flight time for Private Rating, but usually it is 45-55 hours. So, the typical cost of learning to fly a helicopter including books and supplies is around USD $10,000 to USD $12,000.
Here are some pilot training schools :
- Helicopter Training School (HAL Academy, Bangalore, India)
- Bell Academy (USA)
- Bristow Academy (USA & UK)
Autorotation : Helicopter Safety Measure
Several people are curious to know what will happen if the engine which rotates the main rotor fails? They think that the helicopter will crash to the ground in that case.
There is a safety feature called Autorotation in helicopters. This feature allows the main rotor blade to rotate without using the engine. This provides sufficient time for the pilot to land the helicopter safely at ground, in case of engine failure.