NASA Logo - Web Link to NASA.gov Vertical Line

+ Text Only Site
+ Non-Flash Version
+ Contact Glenn

Go
ABOUT NASA NEWS AND EVENTS MULTIMEDIA MISSIONS MyNASA WORK FOR NASA


WOODEN HELICOPTER

SUBJECT: Aeronautics
TOPIC: Propulsion
DESCRIPTION: Make two pieces of wood into a simple helicopter.
CONTRIBUTED BY: Gregory Vogt, OSU
EDITED BY: Roger Storm, NASA Glenn Research Center

MATERIALS and TOOLS:
1/4 inch dowel rod 7 1/2 inches long
1 piece of pine or other soft wood 3/4x8xl/4 inches
Carving knife or wood rasp
Electric drill and 1/4 inch drill bit
Fine sand paper
Glue
Pencil
Ruler

PROCEDURE:
I . Carefully mark center of the strip and drill a 1/4 inch hole.
2. Carefully carve or file the wood strip so that it becomes a propeller. Shape the blades into airfoils. Remember to slant the airfoils in the correct direction. Refer to the picture. Sand the blades smooth.
3. Push the dowel into the hole as shown in the figure. It may be necessary to glue the stick to keep it in the hole. When dry, the wooden helicopter is ready for test flights.



FLYING THE WOODEN HELICOPTER: Hold the stick between the palms of your hands with the propeller upward. Rapidly move your palms in opposite directions. The movement will spin the stick and the propeller. Let go of the stick and watch its flight. If the stick moves immediately downward and strikes your knuckles, reverse the directions of your hands. During a good flight, the stick will climb straight up and settle gently, with the stick end down, to the floor. If the flight is poor, check the blades. They may be too thick or not cut at a good angle. Try reshaping both blades or shortening just one if the flight is erratic. The length of the stick can also be shortened to improve lift but if comes too short, it the wooden helicopter will become unstable.

DISCUSSION:
The spinning motion of the wooden helicopter stabilizes it in flight. Each blade acts like an airplane wing. As the blade moves through the air, the pressure below the blade is lowered, and the air pressure above the blade is lowered even more. The two pressures combine to provide lift so that the wooden helicopter can fly.



TRY THE 'MAPLE SEED" HELICOPTER ACTIVITY PAGE

Return to Aeronautics Activities
Return to Aerospace Activities Page
Objects that Lift
Propeller Propulsion


Aerospace Education Services Project
Oklahoma State University .

 

     First Gov Image


+ Inspector General Hotline
+ Equal Employment Opportunity Data Posted Pursuant to the No Fear Act
+ Budgets, Strategic Plans and Accountability Reports
+ Freedom of Information Act
+ The President's Management Agenda
+ NASA Privacy Statement, Disclaimer,
and Accessibility Certification

 

NASA Logo   
Editor: Tom Benson
NASA Official: Tom Benson
Last Updated: Feb 11 2010

+ Contact Glenn