1
$\begingroup$

As far as my understanding of helicopters goes, it is generally much harder to learn to pilot a helicopter when compared to a plane. This is because a helicopter is naturally unstable and would crash if left on it's own, while the airplane has aerodynamic stability when up in the air.

But why aren't there auto-pilot systems for helicopters to take all the difficult work away? There are already auto hover systems available for helicopters, so shouldn't it be possible to manufacture a helicopter that is trivially easy to handle?

Obviously a lot more goes into piloting than just controlling the aircraft, but it would be great to be able to skip a large chunk of it.

$\endgroup$
  • $\begingroup$ Related. $\endgroup$ – FreeMan Sep 13 '17 at 12:54
  • $\begingroup$ This is because a helicopter is naturally unstable and would crash if left on it's own, while the airplane has aerodynamic stability when up in the air Nope. A "naturally unstable" helicopter won't fly. The challenge of designing an effective helicopter is to account for that which works against stability. But why aren't there auto-pilot systems for helicopters to take all the difficult work away? There are, so you are assuming an answer into your question, which is an invalid form of asking a question. $\endgroup$ – KorvinStarmast Sep 13 '17 at 13:04
  • $\begingroup$ A good number of people who thought that fixed wing aircraft, and rotary wing, aircraft are "trivially easy to fly" are now dead. $\endgroup$ – KorvinStarmast Sep 13 '17 at 13:07
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Assuming rotorcraft autopilots don't exist seems contradictory with this answer: "All modern offshore helicopters that I've encountered have them and they are used extensively. Usually they are engaged shortly after take-off and disengaged shortly before landing." $\endgroup$ – mins Sep 13 '17 at 13:39
  • $\begingroup$ You need fly by wire not auto pilot $\endgroup$ – user3528438 Sep 13 '17 at 13:45

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.