The Differences Between Helicopters and Planes

The Differences Between Helicopters and Planes

There are only a few different kinds of flying vehicles that populate the world today, helicopters and planes being the major two. But what really are the differences between helicopters and planes? Why do they work so differently and what makes them unique from each other? It all comes down to a few simple facts about how they fly.

Lift

The biggest and most defining difference between a plane and a helicopter is how they generate lift. Lift is the mechanic by which both planes and helicopters are able to gain height through the air. Without ways of generating lift, they’d be unable to fly. A helicopter generates its lift though the use of one or more spinning rotary blades that push against the wind. This generates the momentum needed to lift the helicopter off the ground and provides flight. Planes have specially designed wings that use differences in air pressure to generate the lift needed for flight. Since planes need moving air, they can only produce lift when moving forward.

Controls

The control method for both a helicopter and a plane are different and complicated. To fully understand, you would need to take a plane or a helicopter flight course. Both aerial vehicles use a flight shaft that a pilot must control to drive the vehicle. By moving the controls, the helicopter tilts towards the direction you wish to go. On the other hand, moving those controls on a plane will cause it to tilt into a turn, since moving them forward or backward controls elevation.

Mobility

The mobility of a helicopter and a plane aren’t comparable to each other since they serve different purposes. A plane is only capable of moving forwards and the controls simply tilt the nose of the plane to move the plane in that direction. This creates a limited amount of mobility as it turns in a large arc. A helicopter is capable of many more maneuvers, such as hovering and quick turns. This makes it ideal for flights in a tighter space, and it also doesn’t require a runway to land. However, the plane can make up for this loss in mobility with size and speed.

These are just some of the differences between helicopters and planes. There are lot of differences in the actual design of each vehicle, such as materials used, size, or aerodynamics. They’re both very useful in our society.

FAQ

What is the difference between a plane and a helicopter?

The biggest and most defining difference between a plane and a helicopter is how they generate lift. Lift is the mechanic by which both planes and helicopters are able to gain height through the air. Without ways of generating lift, they’d be unable to fly. A helicopter generates its lift though the use of one or more spinning rotary blades that push against the wind. This generates the momentum needed to lift the helicopter off the ground and provides flight. Planes have specially designed wings that use differences in air pressure to generate the lift needed for flight. Since planes need moving air, they can only produce lift when moving forward.

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