In Jurassic World they fit a M134 minigun to a standard civilian helicopter. Isn't this gun much too large for the platform it was fitted to in the context of the film. I'm not a firearms expert but wouldn't the recoil send the helicopter skittering backwards in relation to the direction of firing, especially given the skill level of the pilot?

I suspect my other question regarding this would need another question... Why is there only one helicopter on the entire island? Were there any other, more suitable aircraft available?

  • 14
    There are genetically modified dinosaurs on an island amusement park and you're questioning a gun on a chopper? :P Commented Oct 26, 2015 at 14:46
  • Oh I have more questions, I just thought I'd start with the easy one...
    – Burgi
    Commented Oct 26, 2015 at 14:48
  • 1
    One question per question.
    – phantom42
    Commented Oct 26, 2015 at 14:49
  • Might be a better fit for aviation.se or possibly physics.se as this question is about real world mechanics and seeks real world answers.
    – Firebat
    Commented Oct 26, 2015 at 14:57
  • 2
    You're right. Your other question is a pretty good question in itself.
    – Valorum
    Commented Oct 26, 2015 at 15:59

1 Answer 1


Main Question:

The Gun:

How could a small, civilian helicopter handle a mounted M134 Minigun? Pretty much the same way this guy fires one without a mount, with the gun attached to nothing but himself (skip to 2:20):

The weight of the gun and chopper tend to counteract the recoil of the much smaller projectile and explosions.

As this answer pointed out, the fact is that a handheld minigun is impractical, dangerous, and difficult, but certainly possible.

The Helicopter:

I haven't seen the movie, so I don't know if this is the right one, but several sources suggest that the chopper is a Eurocopter EC130. It was heavily modified for the movie, and the specifications of even stock helicopters in the line vary from model to model, but here's an example of what they can do:

Empty Weight: 3,036 lbs
Useful load: 2,315 lbs
Max. takeoff weight: 5,351 lbs

The IMFDB says the chopper was actually an EC120 Colibri, also manufactures by Eurocopter. Here are the specifications for that helicopter:

Empty weight: 2,185 lbs
Useful load: 1,596 lbs
Max. takeoff weight: 3,781 lbs

Less beefy than the 130, but not by much.

So far as I can find, although both of these aircraft are used by multiple militaries around the world, neither is typically armed. In fact, I found no evidence of either one being equipped with weapons.

Helicopters in General:

The rear rotors of helicopters (which spin vertically, like a table saw) are designed to keep the force generated by the main rotors (which spin horizontally, like a ceiling) from spinning the entire aircraft in circles. The energy put out by these rotors is far greater than the recoil of a minigun.

On top of this, the main rotor acts as a gyroscope. If you've ever played with a bicycle wheel, holding one side of the axel in one hand while spinning the wheel with the other hand, you know that the wheel becomes far easier to keep upright while it is spinning. That's a gyroscope at work. Helicopters do the same thing. There's a very good reason why we use gyroscopes to stabilize stuff.


If a helicopter can handle the stress exerted by the rotors, it can certainly handle a bit of recoil from a minigun.

  • 3
    In terms of your last sentence, at least that's how it works in this scenario. Weight of gun/aircraft are not always enough. Take the A-10 Warthog, which could actually stall from the recoil of the guns, if fired long enough. I realize that's a place, but it's still a fun fact. And that gun is massive. Commented Oct 26, 2015 at 14:57
  • 1
    The gun in that video looks a lot smaller than the one in the film and on the wiki page. More worryingly i found a website cataloguing firearms in movies.
    – Burgi
    Commented Oct 26, 2015 at 15:05
  • 3
    @DangerZone - The warthog usually shoots in the direction of movement, and with a ginormous gun. So the engines, which aren't its strongpoint anyway (it is always just barely avoiding a stall, as I understand it), are pushing it forwards as a ridiculously big gun is pushing it backwards. The tiny loss of a tiny bit of its already measly thrust is enough to push it over the stall limit, which it is always skirting, even under the best possible circumstances. The engines say "forward, I guess", the guns say "backwards, I suppose", and the compromise is very dangerous.
    – Wad Cheber
    Commented Oct 26, 2015 at 15:46
  • 1
    That is, a warthog firing its death cannon while flying is like a toddler firing a shotgun while jogging - both are in danger of being knocked on their butts. The helicopter firing a minigun is like a six year old firing a .38 special - sure, they'll both feel it, but chances are, neither will be knocked off course to a significant degree.
    – Wad Cheber
    Commented Oct 26, 2015 at 16:01
  • 2
    @WadCheber - Exactly. The A-10 has a high-speed artillery cannon, not a "machine gun".
    – JPhi1618
    Commented Oct 26, 2015 at 18:13

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.