Jan 022017
 
LCITS SuperCobra AH-1W

The video illustrates a typical HMI struggle: to which switch can we allocate a secondary function?

In this case, the Bell AH-1W Super Cobra is equipped with prototype Hydra 70 2,75 inches rockets fitting an infrared seeker. Currently, most of the guided rocket are Laser-guided.

For this airborne test, the integration of the guided-rocket (with inrared seeker, not Laser) did not foresee the installation of a new switch-ON button, but rather allocated the function to an already existing search light command (see the video at 4:36). Therefore you cannot have both the guided rocket and the search light installed at the same time. It would be bad to forget it while you’re flying.

switch to power-on the LCITS fire control system

switch to power-on the LCITS fire control system

Dear pilot, if you want to light up your target, don’t blaze it!

canard fins deploying after the rocket exits the launcher tube

canard fins deploying after the rocket exits the launcher tube

simple wiring connection in the helicopter

simple wiring connection in the helicopter

flight and guidance phases

flight and guidance phases

LCITS rocket configuration

LCITS rocket configuration

LCITS rocket integration schematics

via alert5.com

Jan 012017
 

Helicopters have always be designed and built for a mission. Bell Helicopters made it their motto (“One Bell. On a Mission”). The reason is obvious: their cost to buy and maintain have always limited purchases for recreational use. However, new designs such as the Ehang 184 or the Volocopter start changing the market into a more affordable pricing.

The most important change, though, might be one of the least noticed these days: Airbus Helicopters is being rebranded and will be called Airbus, just Airbus. Airbus Helicopters, formerly Eurocopter, is famous and acknowledged as the first civilian helicopter manufacturer in the world, designing and manufacturing reliable aircraft. Why, then, take the risk of losing the benefit of the history?

With the gigantic new market of autonomous drones, the technologies are becoming mature for new aircraft.

Airbus is taking the path of new airborne vehicles with rotary wings, and helicopters as we know them will only be a small part of it. It is all a matter of definition: while a helicopter has one main rotor and a tail rotor, or several main rotors, the use of push propellers or tilt rotors draws the designs closer to the limits of the definition. Furthermore, the use of fixed pitch propellers, in order to produce lift instead of propulsive thrust, confuses the difference between airplanes and helicopters.

Super Frelon rotor head

Super Frelon rotor head, variable pitch

DJI Phantom 2

DJI Phantom 2, fixed pitch rotors. Is it an airplane without wings and flying upward?

The diversity of missions that can be fulfilled by aircraft is overwhelming. Many companies around the entire world come with new ideas and answer problems that are not even existing yet: E-Volo, Zee.Aero, Joby Aviation, Ehang, Airbus Vahana, City Airbus…

All these new design will make the word “helicopter” obsolete. While the current “Sikorsky” configuration (main rotor and a tail rotor) will still be the best design for many missions, alternative solutions will emerge. Separable fuselage to load the cargo, modular engine pods, optionally piloted vehicles, variable number of engines, all these designs will only be limited by the imagination of engineers, for a safer, cleaner, and efficient future.

Urban mobility seen by Airbus (C) Airbus

Urban mobility seen by Airbus (C) Airbus

Jul 082015
 
Bluecopter, preparing the flight

Bluecopter_19

July 07th, 2015. Airbus Helicopters presents its brand new prototype of a modified H135, featuring extremely low noise in flight. A reduction of no less than 10 EPNdB (perceived noise), corresponding to a reduction by 90 percent of the noise of a standard H135 helicopter. (More information on icao.intwikipedia.org/EPNdB, or wikipedia.org/Loudness. To refresh your logarithmic knowledge on the dB, check this.)

The aircraft displays an unusual shape to those familiar with the product family: T-tail horizontal stabilizer, new rotor blades…

The blades are already known from the H160 and the Bluecopter Dauphin. They result from a research programs in cooperation with the french ONERA and the german DLR. The tail rotor blades are shaped as waves and result in a barely noticeable noise in flight. Only the Turbomeca Arrius 2B2 PLUS turbine is left with what seems to be a normal installation. Now, the noise emission of the engines feels very loud compared to the dramatic improvement of the blades!

During cruise flight, Airbus claims to shut off one engine, reducing the consumption and the carbon dioxyde emissions. Of course, safety measures may ensure rapid power-up in case of need, if not urgency.

With this display, Airbus Helicopters sets a new standard of low noise emissions for the helicopter industry.

Bluecopter between the green grass and the blue sky

Bluecopter between the green grass and the blue sky

The green and blue paint has obviously been inspired by the Bavarian country. While awaiting for the flight show, blue skies and green grass were present. With QNH 1013 and more than 30°C at 1300 ft terrain altitude, ISA+15°C was easily demonstrated.

The aircraft is actually not brand new. The structure is the first prototype (S001) of the EC135 T, which first flew in 1994. The fuselage can be noticed on this early photo.

die grüne Hexe, the green witch

die grüne Hexe, the green witch

Maybe you will have noticed the small drawing on the pilot door: what is this cartoon? The green witch, die grüne Hexe in German, was probably inspired by the callsign D-HEEX. Does it go further and compare to the Greenwich meridian? Does she want to set a new reference?

Looking carefully at the vertical tail fin, you will notice a rudder. Is it the same tail fin rudder as the H160?

Bluecopter, preparing the flight

Bluecopter, preparing the flight

The particular shape of the clam shell doors are designed to reduced drag

The particular shape of the clam shell doors, designed to reduced drag

the tip of a blade

the tip of a blade

Air intake of the Turbomeca Arrius 2B2 PLUS

Air intake of the Turbomeca Arrius 2B2 PLUS

The T-shaped tail of the Blucopter by Airbus Helicopters

The T-tail horizontal stabilizer of the Bluecopter, made by Airbus Helicopters

Bluecopter from behind the Fenestron

Bluecopter from behind the Fenestron

Preparing the show

Preparing the show

Bluecopter_4

Bluecopter_3

Preparing the flight

Preparing the flight

Bluecopter, preparing the flight

Bluecopter, preparing the flight

Enroute

Enroute

Bluecopter_20

Bluecopter fenestron

Bluecopter fenestron

Bluecopter_16

Bluecopter_19

Landing

Landing

Bavarian green sky and blue grass

Bavarian green sky and blue grass

Presentation video by Airbus Helicopters:

Apr 252014
 
EC145 T2 cockpit

Airbus Helicopters certified its EC145 T2 recently. The new aircraft is based on the famous EC145 aka BK117 C2.

Both designations EC145 T2 and BK117 D2 refer to the same aircraft.

Enhancements incorporated in the T2 version of the 4-metric-ton category EC145 include new Arriel 2E engines and the company’s signature Fenestron® shrouded tail rotor, along with upgraded main and new tail rotor gear boxes, and an advanced cockpit that uses Airbus Helicopter’s innovative Helionix digital avionics suite with 4-axis autopilot.

EC145 T2 cockpit

EC145 T2 cockpit with Helionix avionics system

EC145 T2 D-HADW during demo tour in Asia

EC145 T2 D-HADW during demo tour in Asia

More photos available at airbushelicopters.com

 

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

Jun 222013
 
Presentation of Project Zero in Paris Air Show 2013 by Dr. James Wang, Vice President of Research and Technology at AgustaWestland

Will it ever be displayed in flight?

Despite the offical AgustaWestland’s statement that the tilt rotor prototype flew several times within the last 2 years, many aeronautics enthusiasts expect the Italian manufacturer to release pictures of the demonstrator in flight.

Front view of the AgustaWestland's Project Zero under dome at Paris Air Show 2013

Front view of the AgustaWestland’s Project Zero under dome at Paris Air Show 2013

Presentation of Project Zero in Paris Air Show 2013 by Dr. James Wang, Vice President of Research and Technology at AgustaWestland

Presentation of Project Zero in Paris Air Show 2013 by Dr. James Wang, Vice President of Research and Technology at AgustaWestland

Presentation of Project Zero in Paris Air Show 2013 by Dr. James Wang, Vice President of Research and Technology at AgustaWestland

Presentation of Project Zero in Paris Air Show 2013 by Dr. James Wang, Vice President of Research and Technology at AgustaWestland

Side view of the AgustaWestland's Project Zero under dome at Paris Air Show 2013

Side view of the AgustaWestland’s Project Zero under dome at Paris Air Show 2013

Source: http://www.agustawestland.com/mediagallery

 

Side view of AgustaWestland's Project Zero in Le Bourget, Paris Airshow 2013

Side view of AgustaWestland’s Project Zero in Le Bourget, Paris Airshow 2013

Source: http://media.aerosociety.com/aerospace-insight/2013/06/17/paris-air-show-day-zero/8225/

Jun 212013
 

X3_header

Eurocopter X3 broke a world speed record with 255 kt in level flight (@10,000 ft), 5 kt more than the Sikorsky X2.

For the second time in its existence, this very same fuselage was made famous: the first event happened 22 years ago, when the Dauphin DGV became a world fastest helicopter with 372 km/h.

 

2013, June 7th D-Day

 

Catch it if you can: teaser

 

Catch it if you can: Eurocopter people sharing their experience

 

When the X3 met the TGV, French high speed train

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

 

 

 

 

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