Helicopter Facts

Helicopters are the only aircraft that can move forward, backward, side-to-side, and hover. They also allow you to take-off and land with much less space. This makes them the perfect vehicles for sight-seeing, allowing you to maneuver into smaller or more difficult to reach locations and hover over beautiful sights for that perfect picture. Keep reading to learn more interesting facts about helicopters and helicopter flight.

helicopter facts

The Basics of Controlling a Helicopter

In order to fly a helicopter, the pilot must use three main controls, the collective pitch, the cyclic pitch, and the tail rotor control. In addition, the pilot also uses a throttle control, which is mounted directly onto the collective pitch. The collective pitch is used to control the angle of the main rotor blades. By doing this, the pilot can control the lift created by the blades and move the helicopter up or down. The throttle controls the speed of the blades. The cyclic controls which direction the helicopter flies, forward, rearward, left, or right. Finally, the tail rotor control allows the pilot to turn the helicopter left or right. Obviously it is more complicated than just these basics, but this gives you the general idea!

basic helicopter controls
The history of helicopters

Image taken from Connecticut History

The History of Helicopters

  • Toy helicopters, made from bamboo, have existed since as far back as 400 BC.
  • A French writer named Ponton D’Amecourt was the first person to use the word helicopter in 1863.
  • Paul Cornu invented the first piloted helicopter in 1907, but his design was not successful.
  • In 1938 the first successful helicopter was made by Igor Sikorsky.
  • Stanley Hiller flew the first helicopter across the United States in 1949.
  • In 1982 two men flew around the world in a helicopter.
  • On May 14, 2005 a helicopter landed on the summit of Mount Everest, the highest point on earth.

Interesting Helicopter Facts

  • The fastest a helicopter has been flown is 248 miles per hour.
  • The longest a helicopter has flown without landing is 2213 miles.
  • The first person was saved by a helicopter in 1944 and since then helicopters have saved more than 3 million lives.
  • Helicopters are the only aircraft that can move forward, backward, and side-to-side.
  • Some nicknames for helicopters include “chopper,” “helo,” “copter,” “heli,” and “whirlybird.”
  • Helicopters have many uses including tourism, search and rescue, medical transport, fighting fires, aerial photography, military activity, and more.
interesting helicopter facts



Want to learn more about helicopters first hand? Fly with Air Maui Helicopters. Read below to find out what our guests have to say about their experiences.

“Dylan hovered, pivoted and turned slowly in a complete three-sixty, allowing all passengers to take in the stunning views of waterfalls, rainbows and even a manta ray, a giant sea turtle and several whales surfacing. Helicopter travel opens up possibilities for viewing places in the world that would simply be impossible by any other means and this is definitely the way to experience the stunning scenery of Molokai.” - Runforester

“Despite having visited Maui several times a year for the past 8 years, we had never seen Maui from the air. We decided to use Air Maui Helicopter Tours to see the island from a different perspective, and we were impressed from start to finish. The pilot was really, really good - he flew very smoothly, took off and landed very gently, gave fun and informative in-flight information but didn't talk too much, and maneuvered the helicopter perfectly to allow everyone on board to take great photos no matter which side of the craft they were sitting on. Our Air Maui experience was top-notch from start to finish and really made the island come alive in a new way for a pair of frequent visitors. Thank you so much!” - stratopt2002

“The West Maui and Molokai ride was the single most memorable experience of our entire Maui vacation, and was so worth it! Dylan expertly maneuvered the helicopter and brought us real close to waterfalls and the Molokai valleys, for a breathtaking adventure. You can't really appreciate the true beauty from the ground, and this was a spectacular ride, one we'll never forget!” - Nanditha D

“Although I tend to have a fear of flying, this was one of the most enjoyable flights I have ever been on. Some of these waterfalls you would never ever get to see on foot but from the helicopter you could get very close. It was like getting a glimpse of heaven. At one point it brought me to tears. Thank you Air Maui.” - marylD9060TX

facts about helicopters

Interested in flying with Air Maui Helicopters? Book online through our tours page or call us at (808) 877-7005 if you have any questions!