Why Is A Helicopter Called A Chopper

Why Is A Helicopter Called A Chopper?

Helicopters have been around for over a century now and have revolutionized air travel. These machines were initially invented for military purposes, but they soon found their way into the civilian world as well. Helicopters come in different sizes and shapes, each with its unique purpose.

One common term that is often used to refer to helicopters is ‘chopper.’ If you’ve ever wondered why helicopters are called choppers, then read on to find out.

The Origin of the Term ‘Chopper’

The term ‘chopper’ is believed to have originated from the early days of aviation. During World War II, helicopters were becoming more common in the military, and they needed a name to distinguish them from other aircraft.

At the time, the Sikorsky R-4 helicopter was one of the most popular models used by the military. It was a single-engine helicopter that had a distinctive ‘chopping’ sound, which came from the two rotor blades spinning in opposite directions.

The distinctive sound of the Sikorsky R-4 helicopter was so loud that it could be heard from a distance of over a mile. The sound was similar to the chopping of a tree, which is why the helicopter was nicknamed ‘chopper.’ The name stuck, and today, it is used to refer to all types of helicopters.

The Evolution of the Term ‘Chopper’

Over time, the term ‘chopper’ has evolved to mean different things in different contexts. In the military, the term is still used to describe helicopters, while in the civilian world, it has taken on a different meaning.

In the 1960s and 1970s, the term ‘chopper’ was used to refer to custom-built motorcycles. These motorcycles had their frames modified, and their handlebars extended to create a distinctive look. The term ‘chopper’ was used to describe the sound of the motorcycle engine, which was similar to the sound of a helicopter.

Today, the term ‘chopper’ is still used to describe custom-built motorcycles but has largely fallen out of use in the world of aviation. Instead, helicopters are referred to by their specific models, such as the Bell 47 or the Robinson R44.

Why Are Helicopters Important?

Helicopters are versatile machines that are used for a variety of purposes. They are used in the military for combat missions, search and rescue operations, and transport. In the civilian world, helicopters are used for medical evacuations, filming, news reporting, and transport.

Helicopters also play an important role in the oil and gas industry. They are used to transport personnel to offshore oil rigs, and also to transport cargo and equipment. Helicopters are also used in the construction industry to transport heavy equipment and materials to remote locations.

Today, helicopters are increasingly being used in urban areas as a means of transport. Helicopter taxis are becoming more popular in cities, and companies like Uber are looking to make air taxis a reality in the near future.


In conclusion, the term ‘chopper’ has its origins in the early days of aviation when helicopters were becoming more common in the military. The Sikorsky R-4 helicopter, with its distinctive ‘chopping’ sound, was given the nickname ‘chopper,’ which stuck and is now used to refer to all types of helicopters.

Helicopters are versatile machines that play an important role in many industries. They are used for military purposes, medical evacuations, transport, and more. As technology continues to improve, helicopters are likely to become even more important in the future of transportation.