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 data from its experimental flights on Mars this month could inform the design of other rotorcraft to fly on Mars and other planets that can act as scouts for rovers and astronauts alike. Ashley Strickland, CNN, "Mars helicopter to push the limits on its fourth flight," 29 Apr. 2021 The $85-million rotorcraft was more than six years in the making, and with good reason: Flying on Mars is no easy task. Amina Khan Staff Writer, Los Angeles Times, "Ingenuity, NASA’s helicopter that could, soars over Mars," 19 Apr. 2021 The helicopter’s four carbon fiber and epoxy legs are extremely lightweight and attach to the landing plate with deformable aluminum elements at the hinges that help dampen the force of impact and prevent the rotorcraft from bouncing. Jennifer Leman, Popular Mechanics, "Meet the First Helo on Mars: A Deep Dive Into What Makes Ingenuity So…Ingenious," 20 Feb. 2021 Ingenuity, the first rotorcraft sent to Mars, presented a challenge to the engineers who designed it for several reasons. Ashley Strickland, CNN, "NASA's Ingenuity helicopter survives first freezing night on Mars," 5 Apr. 2021 The small rotorcraft already dangling above the Martian surface (see below). Jamie Carter, Forbes, "Mars Helicopter: How To Follow Online This Week As NASA’s $80 Million ‘Ingenuity’ Drone Attempts Unique Flight," 5 Apr. 2021 The autonomous 4-pound rotorcraft is charged by solar panels and has just a month-long window to complete up to five test flights. Julia Musto, Fox News, "Ingenuity Mars helicopter deploys to Martian surface, readies for flight," 1 Apr. 2021 Before Ingenuity can even try to fly in the Martian atmosphere, the 4-pound rotorcraft must first be deployed. Julia Musto, Fox News, "NASA previews first Mars helicopter flights: Every step taken is 'uncharted territory'," 24 Mar. 2021 If successful, Ingenuity will become the first ever rotorcraft to soar through the skies on another planet. Jennifer Leman, Popular Mechanics, "It's Happening! Here's How to Watch NASA's Perseverance Rover Land on Mars," 18 Feb. 2021

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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The first known use of rotorcraft was in 1929

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Last Updated

1 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Rotorcraft.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 May. 2021.

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