The method of flight used by the helicopter was considered by Leonardo da Vinci, in the 16th cent., who described its possibilities but could not provide a propulsion system. Best known among its developers are the French inventor Louis Breguet and the engineers Igor Sikorsky of the United States and Juan de la Cierva of Spain. The helicopter has become very popular for short-distance transportation, because of its maneuverability and ability to land and take off in small areas it has been adopted for a wide range of services, including air-sea rescue, fire fighting, traffic control, oil platform resupply, and business transportation.
Helicopters have been widely adopted by the military since their first appearance during the Korean War. During the Vietnam War, they became the preferred platforms for transporting troops and evacuating wounded in the Persian Gulf conflict helicopter gunships provided air cover for advancing tanks. Beginning in early 21st cent. some military helicopters were modified with stealth technology to make them more difficult to track on radar.
See A. Gessow and G. C. Myers, Aerodynamics of the Helicopter (1967) W. Johnson, Helicopter Theory (1984).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
See more Encyclopedia articles on: Aviation: General
Browse by Subject
- Earth and the Environment +-
- History +-
- Literature and the Arts +-
- Medicine +-
- People +-
- Philosophy and Religion +-
- Places +-
- Australia and Oceania
- Britain, Ireland, France, and the Low Countries
- Commonwealth of Independent States and the Baltic Nations
- Germany, Scandinavia, and Central Europe
- Latin America and the Caribbean
- Oceans, Continents, and Polar Regions
- Spain, Portugal, Italy, Greece, and the Balkans
- United States, Canada, and Greenland
- Plants and Animals +-
- Science and Technology +-
- Social Sciences and the Law +-
- Sports and Everyday Life +-