Cockpit controls

Monday, November 1, 2010

Due to the innate complexity of flying in general, and helicopters in particular, there are quite a few controls necessary to pilot a helicopter.

First of all, there's the throttle. The throttle controls how much fuel goes to the engine of the helicopter. The rotor blades of a helicopter are designed to rotate at a specific speed. Because of this, it is necessary to be able to influence the power output of the engine by means of a throttle. This is controlled using a twist throttle on the collective control.

Next, there are the anti-torque pedals. These pedals control the pitch of the tail rotor blades. By changing the pitch, the tail rotor will produce more or less force, which causes the helicopter to yaw.

The collective control is a lever which moves the swashplate up and down. This causes the pitch of all the blades to change by the same amount, which means that this lever controls the lift of the helicopter. The collective control is usually at the left side of the pilot. The name is derived from the fact that it changes the angle of attack of all the blades collectively (i.e. at the same time).

Finally, there's the cyclic control. The cyclic control is the stick located between the pilot's legs and controls the tilt direction of the swashplate. The cyclic control changes the pitch of the blades cyclically (i.e. depending on the position of the blade in the rotation cycle). By pushing the cyclic forward, the helicopter will move forward. Moving the cyclic left or right will make the helicopter roll in that direction. Moving it backward will make the helicopter move backward.



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