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What Happens If the Engine Dies While Flying a Helicopter?

May 22, 2018 Leave your thoughts

Flying a helicopter is an exhilarating experience no matter what. You’re just like the birds, flying high above the trees with complete freedom and a sense of wonder about it all. But sometimes exhilarating isn’t always good—like when the engine dies. And you think it’s just temporary, but it isn’t. Is the helicopter going to fall out of the sky? Are the wings on your bird irrevocably broken?

Luckily, it’s not as dire a situation as it seems. Advances in technology provide many ways for pilots to avert disastrous crashes in both planes and helicopters. When you take courses at a flight school in Montana, you’ll learn how to pilot a helicopter the right way and how to escape difficult situations like this one. Let’s go through exactly what to do in the unlikely event that your helicopter’s engine gives out.

One big thing to remember

When the engine dies, you might think it’s all over—you’re plummeting to your death. Might as well completely give up. But that’s not the case at all! Helicopters are equipped with a nifty and helpful feature called autorotation, which essentially makes use of aerodynamic forces that allow you to make a controlled, and surprisingly smooth, landing. It’s not necessarily simple to use, but every good helicopter pilot knows about how it works.

Lower the stick, raise the stick

When the engine goes out, the rotor begins to free wheel—in other words, it’s not attached to the operation of the engine anymore. Then it’s time for you to lower the stick, referred to as the collective, which reorients the rotor’s angle. By dropping the rotor’s pitch, drag and lift are reduced. The helicopter maintains its rotor speed, which helps you keep control.

The pilot will then descend in a controlled manner utilizing forward velocity. Eventually the forward velocity will slow and create an effect that boosts rotor speed. At this point, you should pull up on the collective to increase pitch and create lift that will help with the landing.

How flight school helps pilots

So while helicopters have technology in place to assist pilots when things go wrong, pilots still need expertise and practice to ensure the safety of the helicopter and everyone on board. Manipulating the collective, for example, isn’t something just anyone can do. Receiving training from a licensed and certified flight school in Montana is a key step toward enjoying a helicopter ride.

Rocky Mountain Rotors is Montana’s premier flight school and helicopter chartering company. We only work with highly trained, experienced mountain pilots. Our factory trained mechanics perform maintenance and repairs on all our aircraft to the highest standards. Our services include photo flights of our nation’s beautiful national parks, as well as aerial filming for movies, flight training, photo flights and much more. We hold all relevant certifications from the FAA, and we’re proud to be members of Helicopter Association International. Contact us today by phone or email to learn more about the exciting services we offer!

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