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Just a thought here, but…..

….is it a propeller? Or a rotor?

being injured by helicopter propeller

And does the linguistic difference matter? In fact, is there one? The thing is “propeller” there just looks wrong…..

16 thoughts on “Just a thought here, but…..”

  1. “A propeller is a device with a rotating hub and radiating blades that are set at a pitch to form a helical spiral which, when rotated, exerts linear thrust.” So the tail rotor is a propeller. But no one uses the term for the tail rotor, they call it a tail rotor. And the main blades of a helicopter is also a propeller, but they are generally called rotors too.

    However, I just have to comment about people who can afford to hire two helicopters yet can’t afford a decent education to be able to understand that machines are dangerous devices.

  2. Yes, it’s a helicopter rotor.

    There are a handful of helicopters which have a propellor in addition to the rotor, but only the military use them.

  3. They even call it a Tail Rotor in the article…

    It is quite normal for the engine to remain running while entering or leaving the aircraft. Normally there would be a briefing saying ‘you approach and leave the aircraft in this direction only!’.

  4. Very poor safety controls, if the reporting is accurate

    no-one, absolutely no-one ever boards or leaves a helicopter from the tail direction

    besides the obvious issues with the tail rotor (which is usually painted an extremely bright colour) its a blind spot for the pilot

    Looks like Darwin is working his magic still

  5. The difference is more than linguistic, in that the main rotor (which provides the propulsion) has a thing called a ‘swashplate’ which allows the individual blades to have their pitch changed collectively (hence the cockpit control called the ‘collective’) or as they move around the rotating path (hence the cockpit control called the ‘cyclic’ since it happens cyclically). The cyclic does this to tilt the disc formed by the rotating main rotor in the direction you want the thing to go, thereby propelling it that way.

    The tail rotor is called that because, whilst it fits the definition of a propeller @SadButMadLad provides, its purpose is not propulsion and it doesn’t provide that. What it is there for is to counteract the torque of the rotating main rotor.


    Protecting and briefing passengers is even simpler, IF you bother to do it and IF they bother to listen.

  6. Tim, for the sake of economy you could reuse your previous headline
    How damn stupid are these people
    I wonder whose insurance will pay for the repairs and the down time.

  7. On my squadron we had such an incident. A passenger who approached the aircraft from the correct direction (front) went to the left door but two others got there first, so he went to the other door by going round the back…

    At the shift change the conversation went like this..
    “We had a guy go round the back and get injured.”

    “Was it serious?”

    “Well, it’s a tail rotor change.”

  8. Reading other news articles about it, it was a publicly educated “kid” of 22 who was busy on his mobile phone when he was “injured” and killed by the tail rotor. So he did have some education, just not the right type.

    Now we’ll see calls for laws that mobile phone use be banned on airport aprons. Just like there were for walking across roads when using a mobile phone. And they will be effective, just like the laws that ban use of mobile phones whilst driving.

    As for passengers being kept on the aircraft until everything has come to a stop, difficult to enforce when you have people thinking that once on the ground they can open the doors. Not helped when it takes some time for everything to stop spinning.

  9. Main rotor blades are safer when running at full rpm than when slowing down. They come low enough to bisect you in a gust when centrifugal force is reduced.

    (Movie sound track editors always play the engine slowing as the aircraft puts down from the hover. This is the opposite of reality.)

  10. Helicopters are referred to as rotary wing aircraft, so the stuff on top are wings. The spinnie thing at the back I believe us referred to as a stabiliser.

  11. They’re all propellors, rotors and screws are *types* of propellors.

    Like a square is a type of rectangle.

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