NC Science Olympiad
2017 Helicopters
Division: C - High School
NC Standard Course of Study Alignment:
Event Rules: See National Manual
Event Scoresheet: 2017 Helicopters Scoresheet
National Event Page: Helicopters

NC Only: Competitors will be required to wear safety glasses when in the flight area (9/9/16)

This is a building event. Teams will build and test ahead of time up to 2 rubber powered helicopter(s). A flight log containing at least 6 parameters for at least 10 test flights must be written and turned in at the competition. At the competition, teams will have 8 minutes to complete up to 2 official flights for the maximum time aloft.

Teams MUST bring their helicopter(s) and flight log.

Event Leaders will bring tools necessary to measure and check the helicopters, and the official scoresheet.

High score wins. Points are earned for seconds aloft of the best single flight. Teams missing part or all of their flight log will be penalized. Ties are broken by the best non-scored flight. Bonus multiplier this year for single-bladed rotors (up to 3 rotors per helicopter, 10% bonus each, max 30% per flight)


- Balsa wood can be bought at most hobby stores, or in bulk from Tower Hobbies or other online stores

- Rubber band motors and winders can be bought at some hobby stores, or from Midwest or other online stores, search for rubber motor or contest rubber. Also, make sure you know the gear ratio of your winder. 1:5, 1:8, and 1:16 are all common, and will affect how many turns you make to achieve the ideal number of winds on your motor. The first number (1) is how many times you turn the crank compared to how many times your motor is turned on the output side (the 2nd number).

-There are quite a few tutorial YouTube videos on how to make a helicopter. They have been embedded below.

Common Mistakes:

-Know which way to wind your helicopter! If you wind it backwards it will go straight down instead of straight up.

Event Resources:

2011 Coaches Institute Presentation (2012 rules)
2010 Coaches Institute Presentation (2011 rules)

Parts of a Helicopter:

Pictures and Video:


Video: A great helicopter flight. This was a trim flight.
Helicopter structure and assembly
Helicopter demo winding and flight (don't wind rubber band the wrong way!)
Good tutorial for helicopters event showing the proper way to wind your rubber band motor and connect it to the hooks, then let it fly! See how much the flight is improved after adding a pin to the top to keep the rotors from scraping the ceiling.
How to attach tissue paper (or film) to a balsa wood skeleton of a wing or propeller and trim away excess without damaging the wing or adding unnecessary weight.
  It is sometimes necessary to curve balsa wood to get a desired shape for the outline or a rib of your wing. This demonstration shows one way to achieve a significant curve.
How to make a motor hook for the moving rotor
How to attach a motor hook (for the moving rotor) to your motor stick
How to attach the fixed motor hook to your motor stick


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