This chapter is dedicated to present the principles that constitute the fundamentals of helicopter flight physics, starting from the basics of the main rotor aerodynamics and of the component parts related to flight control. The chapter opens with a short history of helicopter development, taking the date of 13th November 1907 for a reference point; this is the date when the first helicopter flight occurred, having the French man, Paul Cornu, for a pilot. The main constructive solutions for helicopters are presented and the basic equations of fluid mechanics are applied on a helicopter model with one main rotor and tail rotor. Helicopter hovering, vertical flight, and forward flight are approached, too, one by one. Furthermore, the ground effect, autorotation, stability, and helicopter control are focused on. At the end of the chapter, the main factors that determine the helicopter performances are mentioned.
Part of the book: Flight Physics