Helicopter physics lesson explains how to flip and fly inverted

first_imgIf you were fascinated by the last instalment of Helicopter Physics from SmarterEveryDay on YouTube, get ready to jump for joy. The next episode is out, and it seeks to bring the concepts discussed last time into focus with some awesome camera work.The video uses the example of flipping an RC helicopter upside-down to illustrate how cyclic and collective pitch can be used to help a chopper fly. In case you forgot, collective pitch changes the pitch of both blades at the same time to alter the altitude. Cyclic pitch tilts the blades in an alternating fashion depending on where in the rotation they are. Switching up the cyclic pitch lets a pilot control the overall pitch and roll of the vehicle.The key to all this is the swashplate, and that’s what you get to see in action in this video. By mounting a small video camera on the RC chopper, you can actually watch the swashplate tipping, and riding up and down on the rotor assembly. Essentially, where the swashplate goes, the helicopter follows.You may be wondering if a full-size helicopter can do the same insane stunts this RC vehicle does, and the answer is yes — sort of. It all has to do with similitude, or how a small item scales to a larger one. Of course, the human pilot is also a limiting factor. If this intrigues you, stay tuned to SmarterEveryDay for the next installment for more interesting real life physics.last_img read more