Rotorcraft design has reached a plateau and advancements are taking place in incremental steps rather than as major breakthroughs. That was the prevailing message of a day-long workshop about the past, present and future of rotorcraft held at the University of Maryland’s Alfred Gessow Rotorcraft Center.
Archrivals AgustaWestland and Eurocopter will join forces on a major environmental research program that will include integration technology demonstrators (ITDs) for a greener helicopter. The project–part of the larger E1.6 billion ($2.2 billion) Clean Sky Joint Technology Initiative–is expected to yield innovations such as smart blades for the main rotor and electric drive for the tail rotor.
As the month of May came to a close, a team of Boeing engineers were putting the finishing touches to a one-of-a-kind flying machine at an outpost of that company’s “Phantom Works” just outside the sun- and sand-blasted southwestern Arizona town of Yuma.
Successfully completing phase one of what will be the world’s first civil certification of a tiltrotor aircraft, veteran convertiplane pilot Roy Hopkins recently found himself in possession of something he hadn’t had much of in the last few months: spare time.
In the arcane world of helicopter rotor aerodynamics, two concepts that show promise for enhancing safety and performance in the world of high-density-altitude heavy lift are under development on opposite sides of the U.S. Briefings on both were presented at the American Helicopter Society’s annual forum last month in Phoenix.
Just a few months after its official introduction at last winter’s HAI Heli-Expo, the Schweizer 300CBi, an enhanced version of Schweizer’s Model 300CB, is on its way to launch customer CSE Aviation, one of the UK’s largest and best known flight schools, located in Oxford, England.
Sikorsky’s S-92 has successfully completed the artificial icing requirement of the FAA’s icing-certification program, thus preparing the aircraft for its final all-weather-operations certification phase. It has already completed more than 80 percent of the requirements for icing certification and begun natural icing trials, with several successful natural icing events flown to date.
Sikorsky is readying its X-2 demonstrator for flight tests late this year. The hybrid design, which looks like a helicopter with two contrarotating coaxial main rotors and one tail propulsor, already had its fly-by-wire system tested in a Schweizer 333. The actual X-2 has undergone engine and drive-train ground tests. Preliminary performance figures call for a 250-knot cruise speed and range of 500 nm.
Sikorsky is readying its X2 compound helicopter demonstrator for first flight in late 2007 or early 2008, the U.S. manufacturer announced here at the Paris Air Show. The hybrid design, which looks like a helicopter with two contrarotating coaxial main rotors and one tail propulsor, already had its fly-by-wire system tested in a small Schweizer 333 helicopter. The actual X2 has undergone engine and drive train ground tests.
For many, the name Le Bourget is forever linked to one event, celebrating its 80th anniversary this year. Back in 1927, a young airmail pilot named Charles Lindbergh captivated the world when he flew his Spirit of St. Louis nonstop from New York and landed at Le Bourget.
The airport is home to one of the world’s most extensive collection of historic aircraft. More than 350 types are on display at Musée de l’Air et de l’Espace.