Inside Scoop

Spin-stoppers! How tail rotors stop your chopper flight becoming a ride on the merry-go-round!

Flying a helicopter is a constant battle between spinning forces. The main rotors that provide that all-important upwards lift have a side effect – the engine turning those rotors wants to turn the body of the helicopter in the opposite direction – a force called ‘torque’. This would make it un-flyable and any passengers would get very dizzy!

There are a few different ways to fight this spinning force. Concentrate, this is the science bit!

The Tail Rotor

(as seen on LEGO® Creator Transport Chopper and LEGO Technic Helicopter)

This is the most common solution to the problem of ‘torque’. A smaller horizontal rotor attached to the tail, it creates a sideways push against the spin of the body. It is also used for turning the helicopter left and right by spinning the tail rotor faster or slower. But a helicopter that loses its tail rotor is in big, big trouble!

The Fan Tail

(as seen on the LEGO Technic Rescue Helicopter from 2011)

This kind of tail rotor uses a special fin-like tail shape and an enclosed rotor with up to 18 fan blades! It makes the chopper quieter and faster in level flight. Most of all it makes the tail rotor safer for ground crew and less vulnerable to damage!