The pilot uses the helicopter flight controls to achieve and maintain control of the Aircraft. Changes to the controls transmit mechanically to the rotor, producing aerodynamic effects on the rotor blades that make the helicopter move in a deliberate way.
There are 3 main controls used to fly a Helicopter. They are the:
The Cyclic Stick
- The cyclic stick is used to control forward, backward and side-to-side movement.
- It changes the pitch of the blade cyclically.
The Collective or Collective Lever
- The collective pitch control, or collective lever, is normally located on the left side of the pilot’s seat with an adjustable friction control to prevent inadvertent movement.
- The collective lever is used to lower and lift the helicopter by changing the angle (pitch) of the main rotor blades collectively.
- Therefore, if a collective input is made, all the blades change equally, and the result is the helicopter increases or decreases its total lift derived from the rotor.
- The pedals provide directional control for the helicopter and compensate for the torque cause by the main rotor that tries to rotate the fuselage in the opposite direction.
- The throttle usually is mounted on the collective in the form of a twist grip just like on a motorcycle.
- Helicopter engines maintain constant RPM of the rotor system. You do not increase the throttle to go faster. Changes in pitch of the rotor blades accomplish this. When you increase the pitch of the blades you increase the lift of the blade. Any time you increase lift you have a byproduct called drag. Because of this more power is required from the engine to maintain the rotor RPM.
- In older Helicopters this was done manually by the pilot using the throttle.
- Most modern Helicopters have a automated system that does this for the pilot. The throttle is used for starting and shutting down the Helicopter.
In the photo below you can see the throttles mounted on the collective. Notice there are two. Why do you think that may be?