Why Helicopter Pilots are Different!
Harry Reasoner, February 16, 1971
"The thing is, helicopters are different from planes. An
airplane by it's nature wants to fly, and if not interfered with too
strongly by unusual events or by a deliberately incompetent pilot, it
will fly. A helicopter does not want to fly. It is maintained in the air
by a variety of forces and controls working in opposition to each other,
and if there is any disturbance in this delicate balance the helicopter
stops flying; immediately and disastrously. There is no such thing as a
This is why being a helicopter pilot is so different from being
an airplane pilot, and why in generality, airplane pilots are open,
clear-eyed, buoyant extroverts and helicopter pilots are brooding
introspective anticipators of trouble. They know if something bad has
not happened it is about to."
Last update 18 May 1997