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Helicopter Books: the HeliStart Selection

In this section, we list all of the books that have passed our quality check. They have all been read and reviewed by HeliStart. The criteria used in the selection process are: accuracy, the book must be well written, and the content must do what the title promises. What’s more, each book should be somehow unique in its message, meaning you’ll get more than just a book that covers some general helicopter concepts without digging any deeper into the subject.

Helicopter Flight

These text books concentrate on teaching you how to fly helicopters, and their main target audience is (aspiring) helicopter pilots.

Learning to Fly Helicopters, Second Edition

This book covers helicopter flying skills. It firstly explains all necessary helicopter flying’ theory. Secondly, it covers all flying manoeuvres, which are described and explained in detail. It is this, the largest part of the book, which makes it a useful guide to how to learn to fly helicopters. The flying exercises are also a great help. The book’s emphasis really is on explaining how to fly helicopters, which sets it apart. A must have for everyone who wants to get their helicopter flying licence.

Rotorcraft Flying Handbook

This handbook is written and published by the FAA. It covers both helicopters and gyroplanes. The manual is very readable and contains lots of illustrations. The text covers all relevant subjects, like aerodynamics, flight controls, basic flight manoeuvres, attitude instrument flying, and night operations. A valuable resource for everybody training for their FAA helicopter licence.

Note that you can also download this text for free at

The Pilot's Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge

Everything you will ever need to know about navigation, air laws, weather, airspace classes, radio communication, FAA rules, airport operations, and much more is concisely set out in this handbook. The text is well illustrated, with over 250 charts, graphs and illustrations, making this bestseller essential reading.

Fatal Traps for Helicopter Pilots

A vital resource for pilots, technicians, and helicopter enthusiasts, this book analyses every possible helicopter accident in detail. It looks at accidents that have been caused by a broad range of factors, such as technical problems, weather influences, mechanical failures, human factors, and many more. The treatment and analysis of each cause is dealt with in depth. What makes this text invaluable is that throughout this work an attempt is made to analyze accidents with a view to finding common causes, solutions, and enabling preventive measures to be defined. This makes 'Fatal Traps for Helicopter Pilots' a potential life saver.

Helicopter design & engineering

If you want to know everything about how and why helicopters fly, these books are for you. They will appeal to the more technical guys among us.

Cyclic and Collective

  • The title of this book leads me to wonder what more it will teach me in addition to its content about these two, most frequently used, helicopter input controls. As it turns out, the answer is: a lot more. Of course, all of the obligatory subjects like basic physics, rotor aerodynamics and helicopter performance are dealt with as well, as are piston engine and basic helicopter manoeuvres. Yet the scope of this book is actually much wider than one might initially think. Firstly, it is divided into a 'beginners’ and an 'advanced’ section. This means that the book can treat more complex concepts in depth, even though the focus in the first section is directed more towards newcomers to the field. Secondly, subjects like turbine engines, multi-engine helicopters and autopilots are also examined. This is particularly helpful, since these topics are not usually covered in the majority of helicopter books aimed at this target audience. Thirdly, the book deals with many things that you will not normally find in a text book: helicopter related experiences and a great deal of interesting detail. This is the sort of information that can only be provided if you have flown a lot of different helicopters and have been working in this industry for some time. What’s more, this tone is amplified by the consistently narrative style of the book.
  • 536 pages

The Art of the Helicopter

  • Well structured text that covers many technical aspects. It starts with an introduction to helicopters, followed by a treatment of the technical background needed when studying them. Thereafter, dynamics, rotor systems, engines and transmission are explained in detail. The book concludes with a section on performance and other types of rotorcraft. Its main asset is that the text is technically and theoretically very accurate, and rather than mathematics, its focus is always on enabling the reader to achieve an understanding of helicopters from a technical or engineering point of view. The more technically orientated reader will love this work.
  • 416 pages

Principles of Helicopter Flight

  • If you are wondering how a helicopter flies, and really want to comprehend the process, you have no choice but to delve into aerodynamics. This means not only understanding which forces play a role and the laws of physics, but also being able to put it all together and apply your knowledge to a rotating system consisting of a number of rotor blades. This is a demanding task and requires some very hard work. It is, undoubtedly, worth the effort though, and will help you to become a better pilot. There are many books out there to help you with this task of exploring the principles of helicopter flight, but they tend to fall into two camps: populist and taking a rather simplistic approach, or highly technical and assuming the reader has a degree in mathematics. This book is different, because it clearly explains the principles of flight in a step by step way that is easy for most readers to follow. Further benefits are that a lot of attention is paid to flight manoeuvres and operations, and every chapter concludes with questions as a study aid.
  • 320 pages

Helicopter theory & aerodynamics

You are a hard core engineer and want to know everything about helicopter flight with all its preculiar aerodynamic behaviour. Your primary means of communication is using maths.

Helicopter Theory

  • This enormous tome provides comprehensive and detailed coverage of every aspect of helicopter theory. The purpose of the book is to set out for the reader the engineering analyses required to enable the successful design of a rotorcraft. All relevant subjects, such as vertical flight, forward flight, performance, rotating systems, rotary wing dynamics, aerodynamics and aero elasticity, and stability and control are covered. They are explained at an in depth engineering level, always accompanied by accurate mathematical analyses. A good knowledge of mathematics and a degree in engineering are necessary, as these topics are dealt with extensively throughout the text.
  • 1089 pages.

Principles of Helicopter Aerodynamics with CD Extra

  • Modern treatment of the aerodynamic principles of helicopters and rotating-wing vertical lift aircraft
  • Uses mathematics throughout the text
  • Concepts are derived from basic enginering principals
  • 864 pages
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