There are strong advantages and disadvantages for fixed wing aircraft and rotary wing aircraft and depending on what you need, each have their respectable purpose and utility. A fixed wing aircraft would be your basic airplane, utilizing wings, the airspeed generated from forward motion, and wing design and shape to create lift and thus flight. A rotary wing aircraft, such as a helicopter, uses rotary wings or rotor blades that revolve around the mast to create lift and flight. The projected distance from point A to point B, capacity needs of cargo and supply, weather conditions like strong winds, the environment in which take off takes place, how much time is allowed to reach said destination, and flight demands once in the air, all are determining factors in deciding which aircraft is better suited for a pilot’s mission at hand.
Lets take, for example, a search and rescue mission. For the needs of this mission to be a success, a rotary wing aircraft would be a pilot’s best option. These aircraft have the ability to hover in one place, lift and take off without the need of a runway, and fly at very slow speeds. These qualities better serve a search and rescue mission than if a fixed wing aircraft were used.
Fixed wing aircraft fly much faster than rotary wing aircraft, are more reliable, and have a long range of flight. This makes them perfect for situations calling for a need of long distance travel, large cargo capacity, and more fuel efficient, cost effective flight. In addition, fixed wing aircraft handle weather conditions better than a rotary wing aircraft and would be used in bad weather when a rotary wing aircraft could not. There are some exceptions to these cases where a fixed winged aircraft can exhibit the same capabilities of a rotary wing aircraft. The Harrier plane is fixed wing but can do an amazing vertical take-off and a Autogiro is a rotary wing aircraft but generally needs a runway to achieve flight.