Apr 142014
 

Every year and a few steps away from the lake of Constance, southern Germany, the airport of Friedrichshafen hosts the AERO trade fair, gathering many manufacturers from the light general aviation.

Ultra Lights and gliders, small and light aircraft, gyrocopters and helicopters, navigation systems and digital maps, everybody had something to keep himself busy.

Of course, I headed for the helicopters. The exhibition is mostly European. Robinson was not present, as well as bigger manufacturers like AgustaWestland or Airbus Helicopters.

e-volo

e-volo is a young German company aiming for an electric “multicopter”. The Volocopter is a dream to every young engineer: the elegant concept featuring 18 electric motors (55 to 90 kW) proved its feasibility with an indoor unmanned flight last year (November 2013), and outdoor “real” flights are expected with excitement.

The aircraft will be certified as Ultra Light with a gross weight of 450 kg and 2 persons side by side.

Cruise speed would be at least 100 km/h, longer than 1 hour and higher than 6500 ft.

e-volo VC200

e-volo VC200

e-volo VC200

e-volo VC200

GUIMBAL

The two-seater is worldwide famous, but not yet big enough to seriously compete against the almighty Robinson. The Cabri is now fitted with a cargo hoist up to 220 kg and models produced after S/N 008 can be easily retrofitted.

GUIMBAL Cabri with 220kg hoist

GUIMBAL Cabri with 220kg hoist

GUIMBAL Cabri cockpit

GUIMBAL Cabri cockpit

SAGITA Helicopters

SAGITA Helicopters is a Belgian company created in 2008, working on a new helicopter design based on a Ljungström turbine. The bulky hull covers a centrifugal turbine, that powers both of the rotor plates. The 2 pairs of blades are contra-rotating coaxial rotors. According to the brochure, the transmission system requires no lubrication or cooling!
The air intake is located at the rear of the fuselage and the exhaust is a thin gap between the hemispheres of the rotor head.

Despite succesful flight tests of a 1/5 scale model and wind tunnel experiments, the full scale prototype is expected to make its maiden flight only next year.

SAGITA helicopter mock up

SAGITA helicopter mock up 

SAGITA helicopter mock up from behind

SAGITA helicopter mock up from behind

Ljungström turbine from Wikipedia

Ljungström turbine from Wikipedia

DYNALI Helicopter Company

DYNALI is another Belgian helicopter manufacturer. The first model, the H2, was under powered and got replaced by the H2S, powered by a Subaru engine. The H3 was on display.

The H3 is available as a kit for 100 000 EUR or ready to fly for 110 000 EUR. The H2S is more performing and comes with a slightly higher price of 125 000 EUR ready for flight.

With a gross weight of 450 kg,  the H3 qualifies as a Class 6 ULM in France.

DYNALI H3 with an open canopy

DYNALI H3 with an open canopy

ITALIAN ROTORS Industries

Unfortunately, the staff was not available to talk about the aircraft. Nevertheless, the brochure is very detailed and plenty of information.

The two-seater is powered either with a Thunderbird 130 shp or with a Lycoming O-320 B2C (four cylinders and 160 shp) and qualifies as a French ULM with a gross weight of 450 kg.

IRI T-Line

IRI T-Line

IRI T-Line from behind

IRI T-Line from behind

IRI T-Line, cockpit interior

IRI T-Line, cockpit interior

IRI T-Line dashboard

IRI T-Line dashboard

ALPI AVIATION

Yet another Italian helicopter manufacturer! Unfortunately, they were already packing and there was nobody to discuss with.

Syton AH130

Syton AH130

Syton AH130 dashboard

Syton AH130 dashboard

Syton AH130, detail of the tail rotor

Syton AH130, detail of the tail rotor

KONNER Helicopters

Konner is an Italian helicopter manufacturer producing its own Diesel turbo engines. The TK250 produces 250 shp at 2300 rpm.

The warm welcome with big slices of prosciutto was noteworthy.

The aircraft seems to come in any colour you could imagine, inside as well as outside. It can be powered with aviation fuel (kerozene, JP-4…) as well as diesel. Example was taken from a customer in Micronesia using the helicopter as help for fishing. The aircraft is provided with the same fuel as the ship: diesel.

KONNER K1

KONNER K1

KONNER K1 cockpit

KONNER K1 cockpit

Konner K1, detail of the joystick

Konner K1, detail of the joystick

KONNER K1, detail of the tail rotor

KONNER K1, detail of the tail rotor

KONNER K1

KONNER K1

HELIPARK GmbH

This German company started the development of the HPC450, a small helicopter. The model has never flown yet, but the display looked promising and we could expect a maiden flight soon.

HELIPARK HPC450

HELIPARK HPC450

HELIPARK HPC450 engine

HELIPARK HPC450 engine

HELIPARK HPC450, detail of the tail rotor

HELIPARK HPC450, detail of the tail rotor

HELIPARK HPC450, detail of the flight controls

HELIPARK HPC450, detail of the flight controls

HELIPARK HPC450 from behind

HELIPARK HPC450 from behind

 

AIRBORNE Technologies

Beside the manufacturers, another company displayed its airborne sensors. The Bo105 fuselage might have been there for demonstration purpose only; I wouldn’t know where the pilot would seat otherwise 🙂

Airborne Technologies Bo105 Mockup

Airborne Technologies Bo105 Mockup

Airborne Technologies Bo105 Mockup, operator console

Airborne Technologies Bo105 Mockup, operator console

Jan 102014
 
helicopterlinks

Do you know helicopterlinks.com?

Helicopter Links’ homepage lists helicopter manufacturers worldwide, whose facilities are currently in-production, available for production, and includes several start-up and research companies.

Other information available on Helicopter Links include a section of helicopter trade shows, helicopter magazines, helicopter associations and organizations, helicopter museums, suppliers and services around the world. Continue reading »

Apr 262013
 
X3 seen from behind, optimised for high speed

Should we call it X3e, like all the current new models at Eurocopter? Or X3i? Or X3+? Or X3²?

Yesterday, Eurocopter presented a new concept, a helicopter where the pilot is only an option. The EC145 c/n 9001 is the usual research aircraft of the company, known recently for the “Blue Pulse” program, intended to reduce the rotor noise.

EC145 OPV Istres, France, Eurocopter

EC145 OPV F-ZWAM, Istres, France, Eurocopter

However, not only the new drone was presented. A small surprise was displayed at the end of the movie. You thought the X3 was there only by chance? Of course not!

The Istres Air Base is the most suitable flight testing area in France. All previous test flights of X3 were made there and even the main runway was adapted to land the American space shuttles.

A closer look onto the prototype makes it clear: the rotor head and the top of the airframe have been modified.

X3 seen from behind, optimised for high speed

X3 seen from behind, optimised for high speed

 

X3 seen from behind, Paris Air Show 2011

X3 seen from behind, Paris Air Show 2011

Yes, the aircraft is being prepared for very high speeds. Eurocopter’s X3 is becoming a fierce competitor to Sikorsky’s X2. Mr Bertling is preparing to leave his seat as a CEO to Mr Faury next week and this challenge is indeed a great gift: the company displays its innovative skills.

X3 and EC145 OPV on ground -"the best is yet to come"

X3 and EC145 OPV on ground -“the best is yet to come”

Do you remember the DGV, Dauphin Grande Vitesse, which became once the fastest helicopter with 372 km/h in 1991? The aircraft never forgot its appetite for the records. In fact, some parts of the Dauphin DGV were removed and the helicopter was modified to build the X3.

Aerospatiale Dauphin DGV, speed record breaker in 1991

Aerospatiale Dauphin DGV, speed record breaker in 1991

Now, for the pleasure of your eyes, enjoy these pictures from the movie.

EC145 OPV during accuracy freight landing

EC145 OPV during accuracy freight landing

EC145 cockpit, Optionnally Piloted Vehicle

EC145 cockpit, Optionnally Piloted Vehicle

EC145 OPV during freight flight

EC145 OPV during freight flight

EC145 OPV and X3 in Istres

EC145 OPV and X3 in Istres

 

 

 

 

Apr 132013
 

The brand new AW169 of Agusta Westland has been unveiled last week as a new competitor for the Armed Scout program. Is it intended to replace the first proposal with AW139M?

With this new entry, the British-Italian manufacturer brings the performance of the aircraft closer to its competitors with a lighter take-off weight. (OH-58D has a MTOW of 2495 kg or 5500 lbs)

AW139M has a maximum take-off weight of 6800 kg while the AW169 is lighter with approx. 4500 kg.

The concept provides the reliability of the twin engine and the performance of a modern aircraft. The weapon system appears to be standard with a 20 mm cannon and 70 mm rockets. Furthermore, the cannon is installed with an elevation adjustment capability during the flight.

However, the weapon pylons are located besides the doors, which may prevent the installation of a machine gun in the cabin. The Electro Optical Sight installed the nose has also a limited sight capability to the right side.


AW169_for_AAS_4

AW169_for_AAS_3

 

On the picture above, we see the mechanism allowing to adjust the elevation of the cannon. This mechanism needs to be corrected in order to avoid the full reaction forces from the recoil during firing.

AW169_for_AAS_2

AW169_for_AAS_1

Apr 102013
 

Bell Helicopter announced today a fully new aircraft, although drawings were already released months ago (see the article of Aviation Week).

It should perform well in hot and high altitude conditions, 95°F (35°C) and 6000 ft (1830 m).

Considering the previous experience developed together with Agusta Westland on the AW609 (first called BA609, then AB609) and Boeing on the V-22, Bell Helicopter is fully able to produce a performing and reliable tilt rotor aircraft.

The Bell brochure compares directly to the UH-60 Black Hawk, emphasing a range capability up to 2100 nm (almost 3900 km) during self deployment. Of course, the self deployment is in a ferry configuration, flying with auxiliary fuel tanks and almost no pax.

The video wants to display an aircraft that makes kids dream, brings the GIs back home safe and provides the “state of the art” technologies: video transmission from drones and… mission displays. In a time of financial crisis, advertisers would rather show reliable, useful and proven technologies than a futuristic and expensive toy.

Bell V-280 Valor FVL Airplane Mode

The aircraft could be proposed in 2 versions: tactical transport and combat. Beside possible door mounted guns for the transport variant, the armed version would carry weapons:

  • in pods under stubwings (rocket launcher, guns and cannons, missiles) ;
  • in a closed weapon cargo under the belly (for a stealth capability?) ;
  • in a chin mounted turret, possibily with a heavy 30 mm caliber.


Bell V-280 Valor FVL Landing Scene

Bell V-280 Valor FVL Low-Level

Bell V-280 Valor FVL Rear Quarter Attack

 

See the official dedicated website here: http://bellv280.com

Who are the competitors?

This aircraft arrives in a context of studies by the US forces, wishing for an Armed Scout and a JMR helicopter. The Armed Scout should be a smaller helicopter, but the Valor could still compete with the Sikorsky S-97 Raider and the Agusta Westland AW139M.

On the other hand, the Bell’s proposal can be compared with the Joint Multi Role concept from Boeing and Sikorsky, as a fast helicopter.

The main question remains open though: which weight do you want for an Armed Scout and a Joint Multi Role helicopter?

Mar 052013
 
Agusta-Westland Project Zero scheme

Agusta-Westland: Project Zero

The technology demonstrator was designed and built in less than six months and has already secretly flown several times in 2011 and 2012, demonstrating AgustaWestland’s advanced rotorcraft technology.

The tilt rotor technology demonstrator is completely electric powered, designed to hover like a helicopter and convert to a fixed wing aircraft in forward flight thanks to its two integrated rotors which can be tilted through more than 90 degrees.

source: http://www.verticalmag.com/news/article/AgustaWestland-unveils-Project-Zero-tilt-rotor-technology-de

see also: http://www.flightglobal.com

 

Agusta-Westland Project Zero scheme

Agusta-Westland Project Zero scheme ©AgustaWestland

Agusta Westland Project Zero

Agusta Westland Project Zero ©AgustaWestland