Bell unveils hybrid rotorcraft concept
Bell Helicopter unveiled its vision for the future of rotorcraft – the FCX-001. This is Bell Helicopter’s first concept aircraft and presents a 3-D roadmap for delivering safer, smarter and more efficient rotorcraft solutions.
“For the past 80 years, Bell Helicopter has imagined the art of the possible and brought those dreams to life,” Bell Helicopter’s President and CEO Mitch Snyder said during the opening ceremony at the HAI Heli-Expo. “Six months ago we created a dedicated team to focus on emerging technologies and how we could incorporate them into our products. Among that team’s first tasks was to display visually the technologies and innovations that present a roadmap that we envision bringing to market.”
Bell explained that the hybridized propulsion combines advanced thermal engine cores for the main propulsion with, for example, electric distribution and motors to drive the anti-torque system for more control and simpler vehicle operations and maintenance.
A new anti-torque system in the tail boom is designed to change the safety, noise and performance parameters of vertical lift aircraft.
According to Bell, an airframe is made from advanced sustainable materials to provide structural performance and offer configurations that customers desire. In order to provide enhanced situational awareness, visibility and room, Bell is also exploring the right combination of material and geometry. The airframe is also its front line for energy management where we harvest, store, attenuate and distribute external energy or system energy not already employed for useful work on the air vehicle.
The helicopter will also feature a landing gear with non-traditional geometries that facilitate function when combined with advanced materials and actuation. Morphing rotor blades will allow aircraft to optimize performance in different flight regimes.
The concept applies a single pilot seat and a new flight deck experience with the pilot controlling the aircraft through augmented reality and an artificial intelligence computer assistance system, Bell said.
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