The latest combat aircraft from Airbus Helicopters flies in the german skies.
Following the version for special forces, the heavily armed helicopter is a proud little brother of the Tiger.
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.
Dear pilot, if you want to light up your target, don’t blaze it!
Marenco Swisshelicopter released a video of the first flight of their second prototype HB-ZXB piloted by Richard Trueman, Chief Test Pilot, and assisted by Peter Wittwer as Flight-Test Engineer. The flight was performed on February 26th 2016 at Mollis airport in Switzerland.
Considering the reduced size of the vertical tail fin, we can assume that the aircraft will not use aerodynamic forces at high speed to counter the torque from the main rotor. Using aerodynamic forces would help reducing the use of the tail rotor, thus providing more power to the main rotor. However, this would need a bigger, thus heavier tail fin.
The single-engine helicopter is tailored for heavy duty in the mountains, not for high speed records.
The cockpit provides a great visibility of the surroundings, including below the aircraft, thanks to the transparent floor.
The differences between the two prototypes are very subtle on the photos. The first noticeable change is on the landing skid, where a strut was added at the back. Other changes have been made on the roof, between the rotor mast and the engine. The fire protection has been removed or, at least, reduced in size. Additionally, the structure strut beside has received a nice fairing. Also, the rotor mast is now equipped differently.
E-Volo performed their first flight in Bruchsal, Germany, 30th March 2016 with a pilot on board of their prototype of the Volocopter VC200 (callsign D-MYVC, also named “White Lady”).
The multirotor helicopter maintained a height of 20 to 25 meters above ground.
October 2nd, 2014: the SKYe SH09 took off for the first time.
Marenco SwissHelicopter then released another video on their Facebook feed, providing additional views of their aircraft. They obviously did the best to improve the outside visibility of the piloting crew.
And a first video of the first flight:
Stable, extremely easy, barely any vibrations, smooth like a flying carpet. The first words of the pilot after the landing are very optimistic and encouraging.
The model H160 by Airbus Helicopters, previously called prototype X4, made its maiden flight on Saturday 13th, June, at the main plant in Marignane, southern France. With 24°C and 5 kt of wind, the weather was rather nice.
With the introduction of many new technologies, everyone tries to hunt for the hints, and we will give it a try as well.
First, unusual control surfaces appeared, such as a rudder on the tail fin. The rudder can be seen on the photo in forward flight below:
However, what appears to be a separate piece on the lower part of the horizontal stabilator is fixed (B. Fujarski in “4 Rotors”, issue of Summer 2015). We can assume that it allows to use more power for the main rotor in fast forward flight, while the anti-torque is ensured by the huge tail fin instead of the fenestron.
With 6 metric tons MTOW, the H160 is slightly heavier than the H155 (4,5 t) and completes the product range, closing the gap under the H175.
The helicopter is powered with 2 Arrano 1A, newly developped by the company Turbomeca. However, it seems that the gear box stays the same as for the H155. The rotor blades are, of course, brand new. They were introduced by Eurocopter with the programme “Blue Edge” during the year 2010.
These rotor blades were later observed on a modified H135 in Germany.
Another curious feature is located on the top of the tail, in front of the strobe light.
Finally, the canted fenestron will provide better support for a correct weight and balance, compensating the heavy tail that might be pushing the center of gravity to the rear.
The video below displays the second test flight, where the speed of 130 kt was reached.
Let’s wait now for more flights and even greater speeds!
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Yet another Italian helicopter manufacturer! Unfortunately, they were already packing and there was nobody to discuss with.
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.
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.
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 🙂
This article refers to the great report by Ernie Stephens in Aviation Today
How to speed up when you’re in the X3? …easy: push the button!
Which one? On the picture above, there is only a thrust control lever. As Ernie explains:
In the X3, the TCL on the center console isn’t touched. Forward thrust is applied by thumbing a small, momentary-contact, hat switch mounted on the collective. Push it forward to increase the power, tap it backwards to decrease it. The TCL moves forward and back as the hat switch is actuated, but is only manipulated by hand as an emergency procedure if the hat switch fails.
The TCL, the handle located on the centre console, is actually not used during the flight. It is only here as a backup.
Now, look at the collective below and find the hat switch.
“Are you ready to go flying?” asked Jammayrac. “Yes, sir,” I replied. “All you have to do is push the throttle switch forward,” he instructed. “Don’t do anything else.” And that was when the X3 stopped being a helicopter and became a King Air!
Regardless of whether I “beeped” the throttle hat switch on the collective or held it forward, I could feel the power come in.
American contenders proposed by Bell Helicopter for the Armed Scout competition
OH-58D Block II or OH-58F
AgustaWestland released a picture of the Project Zero prototype. Only unmanned hover flight has been tested yet, with the rotors in horizontal position.
It is so easy to ask! AgustaWestland was kind enough to answer.