- Q: Is the helicopter safe?
A: Of course it is, otherwise we wouldn’t be riding in it. The FAA governs every
aspect of helicopter operations to a higher standard than most airplanes. Parts,
maintenance, mechanic qualifications, and pilot qualifications, all fall under the
purview of the FAA.
- Q: What happens if the motor quits?
A: The same thing that happens in your car or in an airplane. You won’t be able
to finish your trip. If you are going down the road and you car motor quits, you
coast over to the side of the road and call someone to come pick you up. In a helicopter
you glide down to earth and call someone to come pick you up.
- Q: What would happen if the engine were to quit?
A: The same thing as an airplane. Contrary to common belief, the blades will not
stop spinning. The pilot would enter “autorotation” and the helicopter would glide
down and gently sit down with little or no ground run. All the systems and controls
would continue to work normally.
- Q: Can helicopters legally land anywhere like they do in the movies?
A: Almost. The FAA places no legal restrictions on their operations other than the
flight must be conducted in a safe manner.
- Q: How many people will your helicopter carry?
A: That depends on a lot of things. Primarily weight. If you need a lot of fuel
for a long flight, less people can go. Any helicopter can carry more small people
than large ones. Obviously, larger helicopters can carry more.
- Q: How much notice do I need to give in order to schedule the helicopter?
A: We schedule the helicopter on a first-come, first-serve basis, so call as early
- Q: I know that weather is a big factor in airplane operations. Do those same weather
constraints apply to the helicopter?
A: No. The FAA mandates minimum weather conditions for the operation of fixed-wing
aircraft. Because of their versatility and inherent safety, the FAA has waived the
weather minima for most helicopter operations. Again the only requirement is that
they conduct their operations safely.
- Q: Does a helicopter have to abide by the same regulations as an airplane?
A: No. The FAA recognizes that since helicopters are much more meneuverable and
can land almost anywhere without causing problems if they were to have a problem,
they allow them to fly almost anywhere they want.
- Q: What are the qualifications of our pilot?
A: He has a Commercial pilot’s license issued by the Federal Aviation Administration.
He is highly trained, and has been thoroughly tested. He undergoes annual training
and must practice emergency procedures regularly. Each year he must receive additional
training and be retested.
- Q: Are helicopters harder to fly than airplanes?
A: Well, although they require a different skill set than airplane flying, all in
all, they aren’t really that much different than flying anything else.
- Q: Why do helicopters cost so much compared to the same size airplane?
A: Helicopters have lots of moving parts compared to airplanes, and those parts
are much more expensive. Because of this, They are more expensive and much more
maintenance is required to keep them in good condition than an airplane. Also, because
of the missions that helicopters perform, insurance costs more.
- Q: How much weight can a helicopter lift?
A: Our Jet Rangers can lift up to 1200 pounds, about 600 of which is fuel when it
is full. Our Robinson will lift about 835 pounds, 300 of which is fuel. Some heavy-lift
helicopters can carry up to 20,000 pounds.
- Q: How far can these helicopters fly on a tank of gas?
A: Both the Jet Rangers and the Robinson will fly about 350 miles on a full tank
- Q: What kind of engines do helicopters have?
A: The Jet Rangers have a Rolls-Royce 250-C20B turbine engine, which produces 420
shaft horse power. Turbine engines are commonly referred to as jet engines. They
have no pistons, valves, cams, or crankshalves. Their major components are the compressor,
burner, turbine, and gearbox. They burn jet fuel and turn very fast. At normal operating
speeds, the engine is turning about 52,000 rpm. The Robinson has a Lycoming O-540
which produces 260 shp. This is a 540 cubic inch, aircooled, 6-cylinder, horizontally-opposed,
conventional piston engine, much like the one in your automobile.
- Q: How fast are the blades turning?
A: The main rotors turn about 400 rpm, and the tail rotor about 3,000. Gearboxes
and transmissions reduce the engine rpms, which are much higher, down to the operational