Helicopter airframe and Fuselage

Introduction

This site discusses the components, sections, and systems found on most modern helicopters. Helicopters come in a variety of sizes and shapes, but most share the same major components. The article introduces the major components/ sections of the helicopter and the systems that correlate with each. Knowing how the components and systems work on the helicopter enables the pilot to more easily recognize malfunctions and possible emergency situations. Understanding the relationship of these systems allows the pilot to make an informed decision and take the appropriate corrective action should a problem arise.

Airframe

The airframe, or fundamental structure, of a helicopter can be made of either metal, wood, or composite materials, or some combination of the two. Typically, a composite component consists of many layers of fiber-impregnated resins, bonded to form a smooth panel. Tubular and sheet metal substructures are usually made of aluminum, though stainless steel or titanium are sometimes used in areas subject to higher stress or heat. Airframe design encompasses engineering, aerodynamics, materials technology, and manufacturing methods to achieve favorable balances of performance, reliability, and cost. [Figure 1]

Figure 1. The major components of a helicopter are the airframe, fuselage, landing gear, powerplant, transmission, main rotor system, and tail rotor system

Fuselage

The fuselage, the outer core of the airframe, is an aircraft’s main body section that houses the cabin which holds the crew, passengers, and cargo. Helicopter cabins have a variety of seating arrangements. Most have the pilot seated on the right side, although there are some with the pilot seated on the left side or center. The fuselage also houses the engine, the transmission, avionics, flight controls, and the powerplant. [Figure 1]

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