Age Range: 11-14

Historical events and needs have driven aircraft design, and new aircraft technology has in turn had an impact on historical events. The development of rotor technology in particular has allowed helicopters to access regions that other aircraft cannot.

The introductory video “Jet Age and Helicopters” explores the development of engines over the last 100 years and how helicopters have allowed the RAF to reach mountainous regions and revolutionised sea rescue.

In the history activity, students explore the development of aeroplane technology and helicopters and examine how needs and events have driven aircraft design and usage over the last century.

In the STEM activity, students compare thrust forces produced by propellers with different designs and investigate how blade angle affects a helicopter rotor’s performance.

Equipment list

A motor mounted on a battery box and assorted plastic propellers (see Technician notes)
Two thin 8 cm circular discs, propeller adaptor and two nuts (see Technician notes)
A top-pan balance reading capable of reading to 0.1g or better
A tape measure or ruler
Marker pen
Safety goggles