How Do Helicopters Fly?

As one of the most experienced aircraft dispatcher schools, Sheffield School of Aeronautics is well-versed in all things that have to do with aviation and air travel and we’re equipped to answer any questions that you may have regarding helicopters. Whether you are interested in becoming an aircraft dispatcher for traditional airplanes or helicopters or if you are just curious about how they work, we are here to answer all of your questions, starting with: how do helicopters fly? 

How Fast Do Helicopters Fly? 

Unlike airplanes, helicopters use rotors instead of wings to generate lift and propulsion. This causes them to float in the air, where they could be steered or accelerated as the captain wishes. The speed of a helicopter is known to vary depending on the design and purpose of the aircraft along with the conditions in which it is flying. However, there is a wide range of speeds that they fly in. On average, most helicopters fly at speeds between 75 and 150 miles per hour. 


Military helicopters are known to fly at much higher speeds than 150 miles per hour, with some of them clocking in at around 200 miles per hour. Helicopters are much more sensitive to weather conditions than airplanes, and this can affect the speeds they reach when they are flying. Aside from the weather conditions, the pertinent factors that determine how fast helicopters fly include air temperature, the weight of the helicopter, and the weight of the cargo that is inside of it. 

How High Do Helicopters Fly? 

Like the speed of a helicopter, understanding the altitudes that these machines are capable of reaching depends on many factors. These include the make and model of the helicopter, engine power, weight, and weather conditions. Most helicopters fly at much lower altitudes than airplanes, as most of them are designed to fly between 10,000 and 15,000 feet. There are also many other kinds of helicopters that are owned and operated by the military that could fly at higher altitudes. However, most helicopters show decreased performance as they fly higher into the air. 

Can Helicopters Fly in Snow? 

Helicopters can fly in snow and other adverse conditions. However, doing so requires special precautions, equipment, and considerations. Perhaps the most detrimental effect that snow has on helicopter pilots is the fact that they cannot see well. Not only is this dangerous for obvious reasons, but another of the most underrated aspects of flying in snowy conditions is the fact that the helicopter’s rotors and engine could become frozen if they are not well taken care of. For this reason, helicopter pilots need to make sure that their equipment is not frozen when the time comes to fly in adverse conditions. 

More About Sheffield School of Aeronautics

While the answer to how do helicopters fly? Depends on various factors, what is clear is that these machines are incredible. If you’re interested in learning more about flying or aeronautics, the Sheffield School of Aeronautics is an aircraft dispatch training center that is dedicated to helping our students achieve their dream careers. We have plenty of resources for our students that detail ETOPS, distance learning, AIFP, and much more. Contact our aircraft dispatcher training school and online aircraft dispatcher training school today to learn more. 

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