Eli5 Why do people leave doors open in helicopters?


I don’t even like having my car windows open past 40 mph, but helicopters go way faster. Isn’t that an assault on the senses (ears, eyes especially)?

In: 21

The wind definitely gets you, but it’s an entirely different experience to be in a helicopter with the doors off versus on.

It’s often for photography, the glass creates glare due to the intensity of the sun.

Helicopters are pretty noisy anyways, so your always wearing a headset in them to protect your ears.

Also consider that many helicopters are used by police, EMS, military or SAR operations, so having the doors open may be a necessity depending on what they’re doing. (for example: you certainly can’t attach and lower a hoist with the door closed)

Many helicopters lack air conditioning. For one, it takes power from the engine, which can be a Bad Thing™. Combine that with large Plexiglas windows and it gets really hot inside.

Obviously, for military helicopters, you sometimes want to shoot out of the doors. And egress faster when you need to.

For what you’re talking about being inside a helo is LOUD so everyone is wearing a noise muffling if not cancelling headset with a mic so you can actually hear each other talk.

In the air I can’t think of anytime my eyes had a problem. Looking perpendicularly to the path of motion out the side window of car at speed passing electric poles on the other hand ugh. I rode the Shinkansen and quickly learned to only look at forward angle or distant point. Focus close and objects are passing so quickly that it’s all a blur and disorienting.

The distance part is important. you can be travelling at high speeds but if what you are focusing on is at a distance it passes by rather slowly. If you’ve ever been on a passenger airliner you probably noticed that that there’s nothing to indicate you’re travelling at 600 mph outside the window.

Edit: As for the wind if you’re flying doors open you’re dressed for it and the slipstream takes the brunt of it away from you. It’s like how in a car with windows open if you keep your head inside it blows your hair around but lean out the window far enough and then you’ll feel it. Don’t do that by the way. It’s dangerous. But you can do it safely with your hand in some circumstances. And get an idea of how a wing works lol.