Helicopters are marvels of engineering, making use of advanced technologies not just to keep themselves in the air, but to perform incredible feats of movement that no other vehicles are able to mimic. Over the last century, helicopter technology has improved dramatically, and they are now one of the most reliable and safest means of getting around in the air.
It’s easy to take these incredible vehicles for granted, but after reading some of these interesting and unforgettable facts about helicopters, hopefully you will gain a new appreciation for just how amazing they really are.
The Most Important Bolt
Sitting between the main top rotor and the chassis of a helicopter is a special bolt that has become known as the “Jesus nut.” It’s a term that was first coined during the Vietnam War, the first war that saw helicopters used in a significant way. It is one of the most important parts of a helicopter, keeping the rotor attached and allowing the vehicle to remain in the air. Failure of this bolt is absolutely catastrophic, especially when we consider that there are no ejection seats in a helicopter. Fortunately, modern “Jesus nuts” are extremely strong and the chances of anything breaking are slim.
The Distances They Can Fly
It’s easy to think that a helicopter doesn’t really get as much range as other kinds of flying vehicles. And while they generally are not used for long flights, they are more than capable of travelling quite far. In fact, during the 1980s, a record was set with a helicopter that was flown across the world. The trip took almost 250 hours and made use of a modified Bell Long Ranger II, proving that a helicopter could fly just as far as most commercial airliners, although not nearly as comfortable.
Helicopters Are Loud & Noisy
Helicopters use their rotors to create a vortex around them, allowing them to generate lift and take off. But that vortex also causes the helicopter to shake while also causing an enormous amount of noise. It’s so noisy that it’s impossible to talk to other passengers, so it’s necessary to make use of a headset system to allow for instant communication and block out the intense noise, so it’s generally better to stay at home and enjoy Australian Open tennis betting instead.
They Have Weight Limits
Helicopters are not able to carry nearly as many people as a commercial airliner. Most standard helicopters can carry no more than five passengers at a single time – of course, there are helicopters that are able to carry many more, but these are not nearly as common. Part of this is due to the physical limitations of the the lift that the helicopter is able to generate, but it’s also partly because rotorcraft tend to be quite small and simply can’t hold that many people.
They’re Mostly Military Vehicles
While there are certainly civilian and governmental helicopters, the bulk of them are used within the military. The United States Military boasts the most helicopters in the world with a total of almost 30000.