Helicopters come in various sizes. There are big helicopters that make you marvel, and we have smaller helicopters, ones that can make you utter a “wow.” Whichever of the two sizes, one thing is certain, helicopters are a good mode of flying. But how much does a helicopter weigh? The answer to this question follows immediately.
Helicopters are used to perform various tasks, such as delivering water during the fire season; used for the delivery of provisions to people/soldiers that are in great need of it in remote areas. Some helicopters are used for policing, while some as ambulances. Also, you would have noticed if you are a lover of military movies, that helicopters are used to fly soldiers to their mission or to rescue captured soldiers. Helicopters, because of the varying task they are designed to perform, come in different sizes.
However, one thing is sacrosanct about the helicopters whether they are bigger or smaller. That is, the heavier they get, then that is how much they would need more powerful propeller to fly. You may think since helicopters are very light on face value. But their configuration determines how heavy they are.
How Heavy is a Helicopter?
Sources say that the smallest helicopter is the GEH H-4, a recreational helicopter that weighs about 165 pounds (around 75 kg). Whereas another source ranked Mosquito XE as the smallest with a weight of 298 pounds (135kg). Though these two have diverging views on the weight of the smallest helicopter, they are both correct based on the helicopter used for the rating.
Typically, a helicopter weighs between 298 pounds (135 kg) and 33, 230 pounds (15,070 kg) when empty. This range is based on the varying type, model, and use the helicopter was intended for. You would not imagine small helicopter stack loads meant for a very bigger helicopter, do you? When not empty or at its payload, a helicopter will weigh between 600 (275 kg) pounds and 123,400 pounds (56,000 kg). This load will include its fuel, passenger, crew, baggage, and cargo. Also, kindly note that this is the maximum gross weight.
For convenience sake, the weight of a helicopter is broken down into five categories:
- Ultra-light: This category of helicopter weighs 254 pounds (115kg) when empty. They are regarded as ultra-light for this weight feature.
- Light: For the weight of 3,500 pounds (1,590kg), the light helicopters cannot exceed this weight as it is their gross maximum.
- Intermediate: At 7,000 pounds (3,180kg), an intermediate helicopter cannot exceed this weight maximum.
- Mediums: Medium helicopters are classified to weigh 12,500 pounds (5,670kg) at the gross maximum.
- Heavies: 12,500 pounds (5,670kg) is the gross maximum weight the helicopters classified as heavies can weigh.
So, we have been discussing empty weight and maximum gross weight, but what do they mean? Let us elucidate on it for a clearer understanding.
Empty weight is the weight of the helicopter with all its equipment attached in the weighing process but with no fuel in its tank. Whereas, maximum gross weight is the manufacturers’ intended weight limit set to ensure that helicopters are in a good shape, can be easily maneuvered during an emergency, and maintain structural integrity.
Simply put, the maximum gross weight is the weight limit a helicopter can lift into the air. Except that the largest helicopter ever made in the Russian MIL V-12 “Homer,” which weighs a world record of 88,635 pounds, had not stopped being produced, then CH53K Super Stallion would not have been in consideration at the moment. However, all the records of the MIL V-12 have not been broken as of June 2020.
Kindly note that the FAA sets a regulation to ensure safety and weight balance are met by all helicopters before they take off. And the pilots are strictly at the center of ensuring compliance.
How Much Does a Military Helicopter Weigh?
For the sort of mission required by military helicopters, they usually weigh a whole lot of pounds. CH53K Super Stallion is reputed to be the largest and the heaviest of all military fleet choppers. With a weight of 33,230 pounds when not loaded with fuel, it is used by the military to lift heavy equipment during a raging battle.
Here are some of the selected weighted military helicopters for your perusal:
Boeing CH-47 Chinook is a large military transport helicopter and its latest model CH-47F Block 2 weighs 54,000 pounds (34,500kg) as its maximum takeoff weight.
The UH-1 Huey has over 9,000 units produced since the 1950s and is regarded as the world’s most used military helicopter. Its maximum weight at takeoff is 10,000 pounds (4,767kg), and it is renowned to be used in over 40 countries around the world.
The Boeing AH-64 Apache was manufactured in the U.S. for combat mission purposes. It weighs 23,000 pounds (10,433kg) as a maximum takeoff weight.
• Black Hawk
A utility helicopter per excellence, the Black Hawk’s maximum gross weight is 22,000 pounds (9,980kg). It has reputation for going on aerial assaults, reconnaissance, medical evacuation, search and rescue, and many more.
What is the weight of a 4-seater helicopter?
A 4-seater helicopter, that is a three-passenger seat, and one pilot seat weighs 1,445 pounds (655kg) at the empty weight. The Robinson R44 helicopter is the most renowned of all 4-seater helicopters. It is used in London as a principal charter for weddings, tea flights, and others.
High flying helicopter stated that the R44 incorporates a Lycoming O-540, a six-cylinder engine that has the capacity to cruise at a quicker speed when the travel demands.
The manufacturers of this helicopter continue to embrace innovative ways to add the latest aviation technology to ensure that R44 is always safe and brings comfort to the passengers. This approach has helped their newly designed R44 to include a noise-reducing large cambered tail.
What is the lightest helicopter?
Mosquito XE is reputed to be the smallest in the world and also gets recognition as one of the lightest helicopters. It is a one-seater ultra-light helicopter and weighs 298 pounds empty weight and a maximum gross weight of 610 pounds.
Follow closely behind the Mosquito XE is the Robinson R22. It is regarded as the lightest commercial helicopter. It weighs around 879.6 pounds.
However, the Guinness book of world records only has one helicopter as the lightest and none of the two mentioned above is on the list as the lightest helicopter. That honor goes to GEN H4, which weighs 154 pounds (70kg) at an empty weight and a maximum gross of 485 pounds (220kg).
Helicopters are fascinating aviation machines, and their weight varies according to the purpose they were designed for. There are military, civilian, and Police helicopters. Though the list might go on and on if we should include every other job specialty that uses the helicopter to carry out their function. However, one thing is common to them all, they fly, though at their limited lift range. The FAA has continued to do its job at ensuring safety in the aviation industry. The bulk of complying with the regulations lies with the pilot.
This article has examined the specific details of the weights, and the relevant specs of some helicopters as it relates to weights. The heaviest was examined and in the concluding paragraphs, a closer examination was given to the lightest. Whatever information related above does not depreciate the magnificence of these helicopters. Thus, you are advised to continue to love and enjoy your helicopters as much as you can when you fly. Bon Voyage always!