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How Do Helicopters Fly Without Wings?

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Engineering tons of metal to fly straight up is no easy feat. Here’s how helicopter blades make vertical flight a reality.

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What Is a Helicopter?

“A helicopter’s rotors allow it to do things an airplane cannot. Unlike an airplane, a helicopter does not have to move quickly through the air to have lift. That fact means it can move straight up or down. Most airplanes cannot do this.”

How a Helicopter Drone Could Fly on Mars

“A new European concept called the Small Mars System (SMS), described in a paper in the journal Ars Astronautica, would use a helicopter drone, among other items, to explore the surface. The European Space Agency funded a feasibility study of the project that concluded in May 2016.”

How Planes Are Engineered to Fly Upside-Down

“Some planes can do crazy things, but one of the most extreme is the ability to fly at high-speeds upside-down. And not all planes can do this. Planes fly when air moving around the wing lifts the plane into the sky. With upside-down-flying, it get’s a little more complicated.”

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Special thanks to Amy Shira Teitel for hosting and writing this episode of Seeker!
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