It wasn't that long ago that people would look at you like you were crazy if you said you were going to build a helicopter. But with gas prices continuously on the rise, the idea is starting to make sense to more and more people. After all, roads and highways bend and curve, but a helicopter can fly in a straight line, thus allowing you to go straight from Point A to Point B. This obviously reduces the distance you must travel, which, in turn, reduces your fuel costs for travelling. If this sounds like an idea you would like to try, follow these simple steps to learn how to build a helicopter.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- A Complete Set of Tools
- Helicopter Blueprints
- Supply List (per blueprints selected)
- Basic Mechanical Skills
Determine the type of license you intend to have for your helicopter. If you plan to build a full size, commercial quality helicopter that is capable of carrying passengers, then you will most likely be required to get a special license to operate the helicopter you build. Alternatively, there are a large number of blueprints available for anyone who wants to build a small sized personal craft that meet the specifications for being classified as a license free ultralight aircraft.
Decide how many people will need to fit into your helicopter. If you are building a large scale helicopter then this is generally not an issue, although you will need to meet special licensing requirements. If you are going to build a small, personal helicopter, then know that most models come in a single seat capacity, meaning you can only fly solo. There are a limited number of helicopter blueprints that will allow you to build a helicopter designed to carry the pilot plus one passenger. These are supposed to be used for training purposes, so be sure to provide some level of flight education to any passenger you take on a flight.
With firm decisions made in Steps 1 and 2, it is time to pick the blueprints for the helicopter you will build. There are a large number of blueprints available on the Internet. Many models have been used successfully for decades, so you know all of the bugs have been worked out of the blueprints long before you decided that you wanted to learn how to build a helicopter. For your convenience, there are links in the Resources section (below) to places where helicopter blueprints can be ordered. Prices range from £32 to £162 for a set of blueprints, depending on how sophisticated you want your helicopter to be.
Provision all of the equipment, parts and components that the blueprints call for in order to build the helicopter. Many times, the blueprints will include a catalogue for ordering parts. This makes it especially easy for parts that would otherwise be difficult to obtain on your own, such as properly sized rotor blades, or a fibreglass body that is moulded to fit the shape of your helicopter frame.
Follow the assembly instructions that the blueprints provide. This may take some time. Expect this to be a weekend project for as long as it takes, and certainly do not expect to be able to build a helicopter in just one day. You should be relaxed enough to take your time when building your helicopter, if for no other reason than the safety aspect of not rushing through the job. Take your time and follow every instruction to the letter, and you will soon be enjoying the freedom that comes with flying a helicopter that you made yourself.
Give your completed helicopter a test flight. Be sure to take your helicopter to a unpopulated location for the test flight, just in case there is an accident. You should have a few friends on hand, complete with basic safety equipment and first aid kits, although you will hopefully not need to use these items.
Tips and warnings
- Some helicopter blueprints can be very sophisticated and will be difficult to read if you do not have some form of engineering experience. If you are not accustomed to reading blueprints and detailed specifications, then start by building a more simple, basic helicopter. This will allow you to gain some experience before moving on to a more complicated model.
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