Created By: Tallens on October 8, 2012 Last Edited By: Tallens on October 9, 2012


A rotorcraft which only has one overhead rotor and no others.

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I'm just going to throw this out there and see what happens.

In fiction if you want to make something fly and donít use rockets, you put a helicopter rotor on it. Quite often the rotor will just be the main lifting rotor attached to cars, boats, houses, and backpacks, and they fly about with no problem.

Hereís what would really happen: if the rotor is powered by an internal engine, the force of the rotor turning actually produces a counter force per Newtonís Third Law that would actually cause whatever itís attached to to spin in the opposite direction. There are several ways to overcome this. Most helicopters have a smaller tail rotor or fan to provide horizontal thrust to keep it stable. Others, such as the CH-47 Chinook or V-22 Osprey use two main rotors that rotate in opposite directions. These can be on different parts of the aircraft, coaxial, or intermeshing (each blade of one rotor fits into the gaps between the blades of the otherís) Autogyros have an engine that provides forward thrust and uses the airflow to turn its rotor, avoiding the problem. It can also be avoided by placing the power source (mini-jets or rockets) at the tips of the main rotor.

Not showing any of these may be a case of Artistic License Ė Physics. In any case itís Just Plane Wrong.

Newspaper Comics
  • One Calvin and Hobbes story had Calvin eagerly awaiting a battery-powered beanie, and imagined himself flying around with it. Ultimately averted in that when he finally got it, it didn't even have enough power to lift off.

Video Games
  • World of Warcraft is a bit unusual in that it has some flying machines that avert it and others that play it straight. The autogyro mount has engines that provide forward thrust and turn upward when hovering while the main rotor is stowed (though it begs the question, "Where does it go?"). The others, as seen in the Alliance's arrival in Pandaria just have the overhead rotor with nothing else.

Western Animation
  • A 1972 show had Yogi Bear and others traveling around in Yogi's Ark, a flying ship with a single rotor blade.
  • Go-Go-Gadget, copter! A rotor comes out the top of his head, but no others are seen. The movie version did this as well.
Community Feedback Replies: 4
  • October 8, 2012
    It's an interesting notion, but I'm not sure if it's a trope.
  • October 8, 2012
    Probably needs a better title. "Unicopter" makes me think of a rotor with only a single blade, like what some cartoon and video game characters do with their tails.
  • October 8, 2012
    I'm open to suggestions. Although, what you mentioned there might also count.
  • October 9, 2012
    We have "heli-packs" as Helicopter Pack.