Jump to content

Why does the army sometimes call helicopters "airplanes"?


Recommended Posts

Why does the army sometimes call helicopters (rotorcraft) "airplanes"?

 

I personally use "airplane" strictly for powered aircraft supported in flight only aerodynamically by fixed wings.

 

I have never heard them referred to as "rotorcraft" by the military.

 

"Aircraft" is used of anything that flies and made by man.

 

In the army helicopter movie, "Firebirds", the term airplane is used there too.

 

My older brother was an army crew chief in an attack aviation unit at Fort Ord, CA before it shut down in 1993 under Billary. "Airplane" and "bird" was in common use there and back then for choppers, he told me. Non-aviators/non-flyboy soldiers sometimes used "chopper". They had Vietnam-era Cobras firing TOW missiles and 2.75-inch rockets and Hueys and OH-58's (militarized Bell Jet Rangers).

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

 

Why does the army sometimes call helicopters (rotorcraft) "airplanes"?

 

Oh, easy...

 

for the same reason that the army refers to their finest people, their best, their brightest, the foundation of everything "ARMY", in the highest possible accolades. They call these fine folk, these unsung heroes, by the descriptive, flattering label:

 

GRUNTS

 

Uh-huh.

 

So, a fine flying machine, the helicopter, is similarly referred to as a mere "airplane".

 

Which is better than "egg-beater", or "a loose and temporary gaggle of junk flying in approximate formation"

 

That's the Army for you. We love 'em all.

 

:wub:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Uh... because they fly?

Less pretentious than "bird"?

Easier to say than "aircraft" or "helicopter"?

Habit?

It's on the ramp where one parks 'airplanes'?

Briefer than saying "hot big loud windy green bus"?

 

I can't help it but...

You know what the Marines call helicopters?

(Point up and grunt "Uh! Uh!")

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Aircraft have been called "ships" since the beginning of time. It is a legitimate term. Most of us who've been in aviation for a while will use "ship" as a form of shorthand because it's just easier to say than, "my helicopter" or "my aircraft." I hear them called "birds" as well from time to time. It does not upset me. A lot of people I know do call a helicopter an "airplane." Again, it does not bother me. Call 'em what you want. It doesn't really matter.

 

Except "chopper." Gotta draw the line. "Chopper" is out.

 

I do not often hear civilian helicopter people refer to it as a "helo." But sometimes non-aviators who work with helicopters a lot (fire/police, EMS, forest service) do call it a helo.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hmm, now I love "chopper"!

 

Gotta say though, I don't get calling them airplanes, the other terms are mere slang, airplane is just, well...wrong!

 

Maybe those types just need an aircraft picture chart to look at? I mean even Kletis on the Simpsons wouldn't call a chopper no ayrowplayne!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

 

Except "chopper." Gotta draw the line. "Chopper" is out.

That's harsh. That's like suggesting Elvis is dead. You're gonna upset people. :(

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I hear "airplane" once a week around my unit from various people...

 

I make equally annoying comments about how I don't understand what they're talking about until I get them to say "helicopter" or "aircraft."

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

 

The SR71 will have some retreating blade stall issues.

...not to mention it sucks in a hover.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Only in casual reference. Like has been said already. Bird, aircraft, airplane are common in my unit. Helicopter just has too many syllables. It's no big deal. It's like when my father refers to a really large motorcycle as a scooter. I like the English language because you can get really descriptive if you want to but you can also just get close and be able to use great variety just for variety sake.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...