Helicopters are a type of aircraft that use rotating, spinning wings called blades or rotors to fly around! Airplanes unmoving wings glide across the sky, but the helicopter’s rotating blades allow it to do things a plane cannot do!
Much like a fan, a helicopter has wings that chop into the air! The rotors create lift when spinning, allowing the helicopter to rise and descend vertically, meaning the helicopter can move up and down. Unlike airplanes, helicopters have rotors on the top and tail of the aircraft which allows it to move forward, backwards, hover in place, or even spin! Helicopters can make smaller, more precise movements than planes can due to the agility their blades grant them.
If you’ve ever seen a maple tree seed, also known as a maple’copter, you have seen helicopter blades in action! These seedlings are little flying machines, and float down in a spinning action just like a helicopter does! This allows for the maple tree to spread its seeds further away, and the wind will carry the seedlings further from the tree! The maple tree has made this adaptation so that the seedlings can land outside of the tree’s dense canopy, in a sunny, hospitable spot!
Helicopters are an innovative flight mechanism! Helicopters are used as a flying ambulance for critical patients, in-sky fire extinguishers when fighting wildfires, and can even get supplies to ships at sea! What would you do with your own helicopter?
Build your own helicopter today! Print out a paper helicopter!