When you book a Dallas helicopter charter or a specialty tour with Longhorn Helicopters, you’re likely to hear some words that might not make sense to you. You’re also likely to hear some words that you think you understand but in truth, they have their own definitions in helicopter world.

Let’s take a look at some of the helicopter lingo you might hear on a helicopter flight. These words have far different meanings in a whirlybird than they do in regular life.


What you think of: Probably a knife or a razor–something sharp used for cutting.
What it means in helicopter world: “The complete wood, metal or composite structure of an airfoil” … that is, one side of the propellor.


What you think of: A musical triad–three notes at the same time that can be major, minor, diminished or augmented. It’s what guitarists form when they put their fingers on the frets of their guitar and strum.
What it means in helicopter world (according to Red Back Aviation): “The width of the rotor blade measured from the lead edge to the trailing edge. Chords can taper from root to tip in some designs. Also known as a straight, imaginary line from the leading to the trailing edge of an airfoil. — An imaginary straight line between the leading and trailing edges of an airfoil section.”


What you think of: A bird’s plumage–its feathers.
What it means in helicopter world: Variations in the angle of the airfoil during forward flight to equalize lift, “the action that changes the pitch angle of the rotor blades by rotating them around their feathering (spanwise) axis.


What you think of: People responding to something you’ve done, such as work performance, a creative endeavor, or a proposal (such as a potential new program or product).
What it means in helicopter world: “The transmittal of forces, which are initiated by aerodynamic action on rotor blades, to the cockpit controls.”


What you think of: Either an emergency flare–a candle-like, burning blaze of light used to signal or attract attention–or a style of pants that spread outward towards the bottom of the pant leg.
What it means in helicopter world (according to the FAA): Also known as a round out, a flare is “a slow, smooth transition from a normal approach attitude to a landing attitude, gradually rounding
out the flightpath to one that is parallel with, and within a very few inches above, the runway. When the airplane, in a normal descent, approaches within what appears to be 10 to
20 feet above the ground, the round out or flare is started. This is a continuous process until the airplane touches down on the ground.”


What you think of: The elected official who runs your state government.
What it means in helicopter world (via the FAA): “A governor is a sensing device that senses rotor and engine RPM and makes the necessary adjustments in order to keep rotor RPM constant. Governors are common on all turbine helicopters (as it is a function of the fuel control system of the turbine engine), and used on some piston powered helicopters.” Basically, it’s like a cruise control for the helicopter’s rotations.


What you think of: What the guy on the mound does during a baseball game, up to 105 miles per hour. Also, you might think of the sticky black substance that comes from tar.
What it means in helicopter world (according to the Smithsonian): “Rotation around the side-to-side axis is called pitch.” There are two kinds of pitch: fixed pitch and collective pitch, which basically means on some helicopters the rotor blades are fixed (they can’t move), and others can change the angle of the blades to control lift.



What you think of: Sliding, typically sideways, on slippery ground. Picture a truck doing donuts in the mud.
What it means in helicopter world: “Referring to the more traditional helicopter landing gear comprising of two parallel metal tubes connected to the airframe by impact absorbing cross tubes or similar.”

So, what’s your favorite alternative definition?

Get to know the lingo and see the sights of the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex today by calling DFW helicopter charter and touring company Longhorn Helicopters today and scheduling a flight.