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2009-10 NYS Science Olympiad
Helicopter Duration Event FAQ

The 2010 "Helicopter Duration Pilot" Event supports student development of knowledge skills and abilities very similar to those required for the "Wright Stuff" and "Balloon Launch Glider" events. The helicopter rotor and the rubber band motor are both limited in size and constrain all contestants equally. Points are scored for "time aloft" and bonuses and penalties can apply to the overall score.


Q: Can tape be used to construct the helicopter or to attach the major components to each other?

A: The official rules state the following in paragraph 2.b. MATERIALS:

"Helicopters must be constructed only from wood, paper, plastic film covering and glue. The major components (rotors, vertical stabilizing surfaces, and motor stick) may be attached to each other using thread, music wire, malleable wire, paper or plastic tubes, and/or rubber bands. Kits may be used however; they may not contain any pre-glued joints or pre-covered surfaces. Plastic or rubber o-rings may be used to attach the motor to the helicopter rotor(s)."

AHS Empire State chapter interpretation of the official rules is as follows:

Construct ONLY from:
• wood
• paper
• plastic film covering
• Glue

Components May be attached using:
• thread
• music wire
• malleable wire
• paper or plastic tubes
• rubber bands

Plastic is acceptable for connecting tubes, film covering and o-rings.

The rules do NOT allow plastic tubes as a structural member, only connecting device.

Composites such as carbon fiber are NOT allowed.

Composites of the basic materials (wood, glue, paper, plastic film) meet the rule as I see it.

Tapes may be used because they are a composite or combination of glue and paper or glue and plastic film.

The list of six "components may be attached using" does not preclude attaching major components using materials listed in the "Construct ONLY from" categories. Tape, as a composite of [paper & glue] or [plastic film & glue] is an acceptable material for attaching components to each other.

Short Answers =

"Can tape be used to construct the helicopter" YES


"Can tape be used to attach the major components to each other?" YES




For publicly available data to support this conclusion, please go to the NYVTOL website and click on the educational outreach link on the left side of the home page. Listed under the "2009-10 NYS Science Olympiad Helicopter Duration Event " marquis are four documents. Click on the link that says "Notes on the official Helicopter Duration Rules." This powerpoint presentation is the presentation given to coaches at the coaches workshop during the Fishkill, NY event back in October 2009. The last page of the presentation has contact information.

Help us promote open and fair competitions by reviewing the following documents

Notes for Volunteer Judges, Coaches, and Participants

Notes on the Official Helicopter Duration Rules

The Official Helicopter Duration Pilot Event Rules

Volunteers Needed, Please Click Here










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Updated 12/12/2015

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