European helicopter manufacturer AgustaWestland, a Finmeccanica Company, at present introduced its “Project Zero” tilt rotor technology demonstrator, delivering an understanding of exactly what advanced rotorcraft of the future may possibly look like. This, however, is not a paper study. The technology demonstrator was developed and built in less than 6 months as well as has already quietly flown many times in 2011 and also 2012, demonstrating AgustaWestland’s advanced rotor-craft technology.
The tilt rotor technology demonstrator is totally electrically powered; intended to hover similar to a helicopter as well as transform to a fixed wing aircraft in forward thanks to its two integrated rotors which can be tilted by greater than 90 degrees. The demonstrator worked its first unmanned tethered flight in June 2011 at AgustaWestland’s Cascina Costa facility in Italy and has since performed untethered hovering flights inside a properly secured area.
At the time of travel, the wings can provide most of the lift, with the blended fuselage and shroud also making a contribution. ‘Project Zero’ has been designed with detachable outer wings for missions which will be carried out mainly in helicopter mode. Elevons deliver pitch and roll control in forward flight while the V-tail provides longitudinal balance. The aircraft has minimal noise and thermal signature in flight and would not need oxygen, therefore allowing it to fly at altitude or in heavily polluted situations, for instance volcanic eruptions. The demonstrator’s rotors when on the ground can be tilted forward and the aircraft pointed into the wind to allow the rotors to the windmill and then recharge the aircraft’s electrical storage device. The electrical drive system likewise has the advantage that it does away with the complex and heavy transmission system required by conventional rotorcraft.
The ‘Project Zero’ technology demonstrator programmed has been completely funded by AgustaWestland as a part of its ongoing study as well as advancement activities.