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Chopper Vs. Helicopter- A Detailed Comparison

Chopper Vs. Helicopter- A Detailed Comparison

People usually encounter a lot of confusion in their daily lives. They confuse one term with another and sometimes interchangeably use those words. Similarly, chopper and helicopter are also mixed by a lot of individuals.

Normally, “chopper” is just slang for a helicopter. If one wants to sound cool, he says “chopper,” while most of the time it is said to be a helicopter. Apart from that, some variations between them need to be addressed.

So, today, I’d be discussing with you the utmost contrast between a chopper and a helicopter. A chopper, although they seem the same, is not. You’ll get to clear up the ambiguities in this article along with addressing the FAQs that are related to these confusions.

Let’s get to it right away.

Are Choppers The Same As Helicopters?

No, there is a significant difference. A chopper is a light helicopter that is primarily used for official purposes, such as transportation from one location to another. It’s also used for general purposes by the media.

In contrast to that, helicopters were heavy, with advanced manufacturing technologies. When compared to a chopper, it is also similar to a hi-fi copter.

It is primarily used in wars, numerous rescue missions, and disaster relief. It is also used to transport VIPs due to its numerous safety features.

What is the Difference Between A Chopper And A Helicopter?

There is a difference of opinion in terms of answering this query. People generally think that there is no distinction. That being said, if you want to sound cool, just call it a “helo.”

No one who flies them refers to them as choppers. The formal name is “helicopter,” while “chopper” is more colloquial. It’s like referring to television as a TV.

A “chopper” appears to be a slang term for a helicopter. A knowledgeable person in the helicopter industry would normally refer to a helicopter as a “rotorcraft” and not a “chopper” as this term has a lot of other meanings and usage rather than just being used as an alternative for the helicopter.

To summarize, there is no distinction between the two; a helicopter’s blades cut (chop) the air to produce the desired lift, which is why helicopters are sometimes referred to as choppers. The helicopter is too boring, and a chopper sounds more stylish.

Chopper is just a slang term, and saying “chopper” requires far less effort than saying “helicopter.”

What Is The Origin Of The Word “Chopper”?

Chopper was a generic term for the helicopter because the main rotors “chopped” through the air. Back in Vietnam, the slang term for the helicopter used to deploy troops was Slick. It was easier to say two slicks inbound than two helicopters inbound on the radio, and you knew exactly what kind of helicopter was coming to take you away.

It also sounds a lot better. Choppers are modified motorcycles, usually Harleys. The Tommy Gun or Thompson submachine gun can also be referred to as a chopper.

The origin of the name “chopper” could be attributed to one of two factors.

  • To function, the Heli’s rotor blades cut or chop the air and produce a downward thrust. As a result, the name “chopper” was coined.
  • Say “chop” several times. The noise you make is similar to what a helicopter would make as its rotor blades rotate. This led to the origin of this word.
A picture of a yellow chopper near a beach.
A yellow chopper; mainly for military use.

Is A Helicopter Called A Chopper As well?

Although there are many differences between them, they are used as an alternative for one another. A helicopter is a type of aircraft that you can fly.

While, a chopper is a type of motorcycle (usually a Harley) that has been modified by extending the front forks and increasing the rake of the front wheel, which causes it to move forward a few inches or even a couple of feet. Handlebars are frequently raised to heights above the rider’s head (AKA “Ape bars”).

Why Do Americans Call Choppers As Helicopters And Vice Versa?

Choppers are for road riding and, depending on how much the bike has been “chopped,” can be a little more difficult to control when turning and at lower speeds than a factory Harley.

In American parlance, a chopper is a motorcycle.

It’s also what the Chinese call the blade that chops off the heads of chickens. It is also referred to as a “chopper.”

So, we can conclude that “chopper” is just a slang word used for a helicopter, as it is also used for other things such as a chopping machine, a motorcycle, and much more. Therefore, we cannot justify the difference between the two unless we are educated about it.

Why are Both Motorcycles And Helicopters Referred To as “Choppers”?

Only a few motorcycles are referred to as “choppers.” Specifically, ones that resemble this:

Originally, these bikes were made by cutting (chopping) the frame of a factory bike and welding it back together in a different shape. 

“Chopper” is a term used to describe helicopters by someone unfamiliar with them. The FAA refers to helicopters as “rotorcraft,” while pilots refer to them as helicopters. Before Arnold Schwarzenegger’s character in Commando yelled “Get to Da Choppa!” It was not so common.

So, a chopper is a bike that has been chopped. The one that has been molded and modified into something customary. It is not used for all the motorcycles out there, just some unique ones.

A picture of black Harley Davidson; Motorcycle
Harley Davidson is also sometimes referred to as a “Chopper”

Why Is A Helicopter Also Called As A Chopper?

Helicopters were given the nickname “choppers” because of the “chop-chop-chop” sound made by the main rotor. Not all of them, but the small Bell helicopters that were widely used during the Korean War do.

That is when the term was coined.

To summarize, A helicopter is an aircraft with rotating wings on top of its body that can take off and land without using a runway. The helicopter is also termed as Chopper, it is a slang word that a layman uses and is also used in the headlines by media and news channels, yet the helicopter seems more professional.

On the other hand, a chopper is a device that uses a sudden blow to cut something. The rotor of the helicopter chops or cuts the air to produce the required lift, hence the name “chopper.”

Now you are quite familiar with the variations they have, right?

Have a look at this video to know how a helicopter works.

Is A Chopper The Same As A Small Helicopter?

Not at all. It is a generic term for all helicopters. However, some military men say that they don’t recall seeing it used by other personnel during their 20 years of service.

They referred to helicopters by their official names, such as Huey, Chinook, Hook, Slick, gunship, aircraft, or bird. I’ve only heard of civilians using helicopters. They did use it to describe custom motorcycles.

Overall, a “chopper,” in my opinion, refers to any powered rotorcraft. But I’d also add that I’ve never heard a helicopter pilot refer to one as a “chopper.”

People from San Francisco, for example, never refer to their city as “Frisco.” It’s weird, isn’t it?

UsageGenerally for short distances and domestic purposesUsually for wars and long-distance
Kind of termSlang/ Casual termProfessional
Helicopter Vs. Chopper

Are Chopper And Helicopter Of The Same Size?

Not really, Chopper is somewhat a small helicopter. To add more meaning to it, have look at the details below.

“Chopper” is a noun. It’s simply a slang term for a helicopter. During the Korean War in the early 1950s, a helicopter known as the H-13 was used. Bell Helicopters built the H-13, which featured two-bladed main and tail rotors. 

The H-13’s two-bladed rotor produced a distinct “chop-chop” sound. It’s worth noting that the helicopter in the video is called a Bell 47. The H-13 is simply the military designation for the civilian Bell 47, so they are essentially interchangeable.

Hundreds of H-13s flew medivac missions during the Korean War, so they were well-known. At a distance, the doppler effect of their rotor slap gave them away, and the first thing you’d hear from their approach was that chopping sound.

Of course, there were other helicopters, such as the H-19, which had a three-bladed rotor and made a different noise, but none were as well known as the H-13.

As a result, the nickname “chopper” quickly spread among the troops who encountered them, and this nickname was followed and solidified by the UH-1.

This bell design featured a two-bladed rotor with a wide chord, producing a similar but deeper “chop-chop” sound. The nickname “chopper” has now been given to all sorts of helicopters, not just the small ones.

Along with the meanings of the chopper and a helicopter, I’ve made a sneak peek at the details of the Chopper and its brief history.

A cinematic view of a helicopter between 4 buildings
The helicopter is also known as a chopper due to the Cop chop sound of its Rotor.


In conclusion to this, I’d say that there are quite a lot of differences between a chopper and a helicopter. We might not comprehend it unless we look into the literature on these terms. A chopper is a helicopter, a motorcycle, and a large knife all at the same time, but a helicopter is always a chopper.

In addition, the term “chopper” refers to a semiconductor device called a “thyristor,” which can chop the sin-social wave at the desired location.

People use a chopper for referring to a helicopter but as slang, or to look dope. A chopper is a device that uses a sudden blow to cut something. The rotor of the helicopter chops or cuts the air to produce the required lift, hence the name “chopper.”

Hence, to have a deeper concept, you must go through this article, it will make a difference.

Here is an article about the difference between long swords and short swords: What Are The Differences Between Long Swords And Short Swords? (Compared)

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