13 Words for the Sound Made by Helicopter Rotors

It’s great to include onomatopoeia or sound verbs in your writing. However, you need to know more about them first. This article will explore words for the sound of a helicopter. We’ll share all the best words to refer to helicopter roto sounds in different ways.

The best words for the sound made by helicopter rotors are “whirling,” “whirring,” and “chopping.” These are coming sound verbs used to refer to the blades rotating when helicopters are taking off, flying, or landing. They convey the power and volume behind the sound.

Words for the Sound Made by Helicopter Rotors

1. Whirling

“Whirling” is a great sound verb used for the sound of a military helicopter. It relates to the “whirling” of the rotors, meaning that they move in a circular rhythm to create a loud noise.

Helicopters are colloquially known as “whirly-birds.” That’s why “whirling” is such a great choice when you want a specific word to refer to the noises they make.

  • The whirling noises were getting louder, but I still couldn’t see the helicopter. I didn’t know where it was coming from.
  • I’m hearing the whirling, but I do not see the chopper. We need to be careful around these parts. We don’t want to be caught off guard.

2. Whirring

“Whirring” is another great term that follows a similar idea as “whirling.” The “wh-” at the start of the word shows that the rotors are spinning quickly to create the loud noise you’re familiar with.

It’s a great choice when trying to encapture the sounds you hear from helicopter rotors. It shows that they’re spinning violently enough to cause incredibly loud noises.

  • It’s whirring a lot, and I’m trying to set it down gently. We need to get everyone out of this area as quickly as possible.
  • The helicopter whirred across the sky. Almost everybody looked towards it as it fluttered and juddered in randomly rhythmic patterns.

3. Chopping

“Chopping” is great because it refers to “chopper” (another colloquial name for a helicopter) and demonstrates the loud noises coming from the rotors. You should use it when the blades “chop” through the air to create the noise that is iconic to helicopters.

It’s good to use this in many cases. Most people know that “choppers” are “helicopters,” so you can use “chopping” to follow the colloquial name. “Chopper” comes from the sound made by the rotors, which is why “chopping” makes a lot of sense.

  • The chopping noise grows on you after a while. It’s incredibly loud, but it’s part of the aesthetic that people look for in helicopters.
  • I hate how loud helicopters have to be. What is up with that chopping sound? Is there no way you can turn it down?

4. Rattling

“Rattling” is a great word for rotors starting up or shutting down. It often refers to the loud noise from helicopters right before take-off or after landing.

The “rattle” comes from fast-spinning blades that are no longer airborne. The noise is still loud enough to be annoying, but they’re not moving quickly enough to be stable anymore. That’s why they “rattle.”

  • The rattling rotors wouldn’t shut off. It wasn’t easy to discuss anything with the president while we were standing in front of it.
  • If you hear the rattling, the helicopter is closer than you realize. You have to keep your ears open.

5. Juddering

“Juddering” is a great verb choice. You should use it when the helicopter makes erratic but loud noises as it flies across the sky. It can also work when the helicopter is only just preparing to take off.

The “judders” are great to refer to the instability of the rotors as they start to speed up. They look quite wobbly until they gain momentum, which is why “juddering” can work.

  • It was juddering across the sky for the best part of an hour. I’m not sure what it searched for, but it made for an interesting tale.
  • You should have heard the helicopters juddering through the fields. They were very close to the ground, so it was hard to miss.

6. Fluttering

“Fluttering” refers to the starting sounds of a helicopter rotor. You should use it within the first few seconds of a helicopter starting up.

“Fluttering” refers to the gentler rhythm when helicopters start to spin the rotors. It’s a good choice when you do not hear louder noises associated with helicopters flying.

However, “fluttering” can shift into a louder “chopping” noise if given enough time.

  • That fluttering noise is all too much for me. I’m not sure why you called me out here. You know that I hate helicopters.
  • The fluttering helicopters lined up and moved in unison. It was quite the spectacle, and I hope I get to see it again.

7. Whapping

“Whapping” is a great term that uses the same “wh-” start as “whirling.” It shows that the rotors spin, creating a “wh-” sound that people can hear as it whirs through the air.

It often relates to the noise that’s created while a helicopter is in flight. You shouldn’t use “whapping” for slow-moving rotors as they are usually too quiet.

  • The rotors whapped against the sky. You could almost see the sound because it was so loud and intrusive.
  • I listened to the whapping as the helicopters passed overhead. It wasn’t the usual sound. It was much louder than I remembered.

8. Roaring

“Roaring” implies that the noise from the helicopter is far too loud to listen to. “Roar” is a great choice for the sound of rotor blades because it highlights how obnoxious, scary, and loud a helicopter rotor can be.

Most people are caught off guard by helicopter rotor sounds. If it’s the first time someone hears them, they will often be blown away (literally) by the noise.

  • The roaring of the rotors was almost too much for little Timmy. His parents had to take him away before he screamed.
  • I’m sure that they’re supposed to roar louder than that. I feel like the chopper isn’t working as well as it could.

9. Swishing

“Swishing” is a gentler sound you can use. It works best when a helicopter is settling down after flying, as “swish” refers to the rotors slowing down to a stop.

You should use this when the rotors are starting to flick against the air gently, creating smaller “swishing noises.”

  • Swishing rotors are great to listen to. Not many people appreciate the noises that helicopters make, but I do.
  • I think you’re confusing that with the swishing sound of the helicopter. Don’t worry; loads of people have made that mistake.

10. Chuntering

“Chuntering” is an old-fashioned but useful verb referring to the sound that helicopters make in the air. “Chunter” means “to move along slowly and noisily.” It works best when a helicopter is travelling slowly.

  • The chuntering helicopters passed by as quickly as they could. They didn’t want people down below to gawp for too long.
  • I’m not sure why they’re chuntering like that. It’s not something you expect to hear from a chopper all that often.

11. Chuf Chuf

“Chuf chuf” is a great choice, and it’s the first onomatopoeic choice on the list. You can use onomatopoeia like this to refer to the exact sounds made by the rotors rather than the actions that create the sound.

“Chuf chuf” is a common way to spell the sound. It’s used when people want to highlight how loud and jaded the sound of a helicopter rotor is.

You may repeat “chuf” as many times as you think it fits.

  • Chuf chuf! The choppers were lined up overhead. It was only a matter of time before they left for their mission. Chuf chuf!
  • Chuf chug! The helicopters have just landed on the launch pad. We only have a few minutes before we need to be on them.

12. Whup Whup

“Whup whup” is another great onomatopoeia word. This time, it follows the “wh-” trend from “whirling” or “whirring,” showing that the rotors are spinning and “whipping” in the air.

You can use this with multiple “whups” if you want to show how long or loud the noise is. The more “whups,” you use, the louder (and longer) the noise will appear in your writing.

  • Whup whup! The helicopters were gaining on them. They needed to do something quickly before they were thrown into a fight.
  • Whup whup! Whup whup! What’s that sound? It sounds like a thousand tiny helicopters coming up behind me.

13. Tocotoco

“Tocotoco” is a great choice for onomatopoeia that shows a lot of fast, repeatable noises while a helicopter is taking off. It works best when a helicopter has yet to leave the ground and is letting the rotors speed up before taking flight.

As with the other onomatopoeic choices, you may repeat “toco” as often as you want. The more times it’s repeated, the longer the sound will appear to the reader.

  • Tocotocotoco! That’s the noise that helicopters make when they’re just taking off. The rotors need some time to speed up.
  • Tocotocotocotoco! You should be careful standing too close to them. Tocotoco! They can be quite dangerous at that distance.