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How does a helicopter fly?

Helicopter rescueHelicopter rescueA helicopter is an aircraft that flies using spinning rotor blades instead of fixed wings. Helicopters can take off and land vertically. They can hover as well as fly in any direction. They do not need a runway that planes must have for take-off or landing. This means they can be used for flying passengers to and from city centres, oil rigs or ships. They can also provide a rescue service in floods, earthquakes, on mountains or at sea.

A helicopter carries out a rescue at sea.A helicopter carries out a rescue at sea.

Diagram of a turboshaft engineDiagram of a turboshaft engine


Most helicopters are powered by a turboshaft engine. This is a jet engine in which the exhaust gases cause a turbine to spin round rapidly. The turbine is linked to a shaft, to which the helicopter's rotor blades are attached.

If a helicopter engine stops working, the rotor continues to spin, allowing the pilot to land the machine slowly without crashing to the ground.

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