ro·​tor·​craft | \ ˈrō-tər-ˌkraft How to pronounce rotorcraft (audio) \
plural rotorcraft

Definition of rotorcraft

: an aircraft (such as a helicopter) whose lift is derived principally from rotating airfoils

Examples of rotorcraft in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

The Dragonfly mission will involve a small, drone-like rotorcraft lander that will be able to fly in small hops across Titan’s surface, covering more distance during its two-year mission than any planetary rover in history. Daniel Oberhaus, WIRED, "NASA Will Send a Helicopter to Hunt for Life on Saturn's Biggest Moon," 27 June 2019 McCormack received his commercial pilot's license in 2004, according to Federal Aviation Administration records, and he was certified as a flight instructor for a rotorcraft-helicopter last year. Greg Wallace And Brynn Gingras, CNN, "Pilot of helicopter that crashed on New York high-rise didn't have proper certificate, FAA says," 12 June 2019 For years now, aerospace firms have been engineering the kinds of drones and rotorcraft that could be adapted for the self-flying taxi role. Joe Pappalardo, Popular Mechanics, "The "Mega Skyport" Is a Fanciful Future Landing Spot for Uber’s Flying Taxis," 19 July 2018 Started in 2008 as a response to legacy helicopters crashing in Iraq and Afghanistan, the goal was to develop an entirely new rotorcraft system, as opposed to just continually upgrading Black Hawks and Apaches. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "Will the Defiant Be the Helicopter That Finally Replaces the Black Hawk?," 26 Dec. 2018 The altitude record for a rotorcraft stands at just over 40,000 feet, and during that flight the engine flamed out and the pilot had to land using autorotation. Jay Bennett, Popular Mechanics, "How to Fly a Helicopter on Mars," 15 May 2018 The primary way to achieve lift with a rotorcraft in thin air is to spin the blades very fast. Jay Bennett, Popular Mechanics, "How to Fly a Helicopter on Mars," 15 May 2018 After landing, the rover will deposit its helicopter payload, then retreat to a safe distance while the rotorcraft take off. Washington Post,, "Today in non-terrifying robot news: NASA is sending a helicopter to Mars," 15 May 2018 The project will serve mainly as a test of the technology needed to fly a rotorcraft above a world 140 million miles away. Washington Post,, "Today in non-terrifying robot news: NASA is sending a helicopter to Mars," 15 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'rotorcraft.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of rotorcraft

1929, in the meaning defined above

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Dictionary Entries near rotorcraft



rotor blade


rotor disk

rotor plane

rotor ship

Statistics for rotorcraft

Last Updated

10 Jul 2019

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Time Traveler for rotorcraft

The first known use of rotorcraft was in 1929

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