The future of rotorcraft could look like this; Bell Helicopter unveiled its vision for the future of rotorcraft at Heli-Expo 2017.
For the past 80 years, Bell Helicopter has imagined the art of the possible and brought those dreams to life. The latest vision for the future of rotorcrafts presented by the Textron company is the FCX-001. The concept presents a 3-D roadmap for delivering safer, smarter and more efficient rotorcraft solutions.
“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 Helicopter’s President and CEO Mitch Snyder said during the opening ceremony at the HAI Heli-Expo.
The concept aircraft was built to address the evolving demands of helicopter’s customers.
A new anti-torque system in the tail boom was designed to change the safety, noise and performance parameters of vertical lift aircraft forever.
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.
“The FCX-001 points the way for our future – a renewed focus on innovative solutions and technologies. When the time is right we look forward to sharing more of what we’re doing behind closed doors,” added Snyder.
The airframe is made from advanced sustainable materials to provide structural performance.
“In order to provide enhanced situational awareness, visibility and room, we are exploring the right combination of material and geometry. The airframe is also our 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.”
A landing gear with non-traditional geometries facilitates function when combined with advanced materials and actuation.
The Morphing rotor blades allow aircraft to optimize performance in different flight regimes.The new concept features a single pilot seat and an entirely new flight deck experience with the pilot controlling the aircraft through augmented reality and an artificial intelligence computer assistance system.
The highly modular passenger cabin enhanced with the same augmented reality technology offers individualized infotainment to catch up on world news, hold a video conference call, share documents with other passengers or simply watch a movie or play music to relax.