HELI-EXPO, Dallas.Bell Helicopter, a Textron Inc. (NYSE:TXT) company, has unveiled its vision for the future of rotorcraft, the FCX-001 concept helicopter that harnesses emerging technologies to reduce noise, boost safety and performance, and enhance both the pilot and the passenger experience.
Bell Helicopter officials call the concept helicopter “a 3D roadmap for delivering safer, smarter, and more efficient rotorcraft solutions.” It was borne out of a “highly collaborative team of problem solvers” – a core group of Bell Helicopter engineers and graphic designers – to address the evolving demands of customers and demonstrate key technologies that revolutionize the pilot and passenger experience, including:
A new anti-torque system in the tail boom 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.
An airframe that is made from advanced sustainable materials to provide structural performance and offer configurations that our customers desire. In order to provide enhanced situational awareness, visibility, and room, the company is exploring the right combination of material and geometry. The airframe is also the front line for energy management where it harvests, stores, attenuates, and distributes external energy or system energy not already employed for useful work on the air vehicle.
A landing gear with non-traditional geometries that facilitate function when combined with advanced materials and actuation.
Morphing rotor blades that allow aircraft to optimize performance in different flight regimes.
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.
A highly modular passenger cabin enhanced with the same augmented reality technology for 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.
“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 HAI Heli-Expo 2017 in Dallas. “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.”
“Being a pioneer in the aircraft industry is in our DNA and we want to share this renewed passion with the world. 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,” Snyder added.
Bell Helicopter, a wholly owned subsidiary of Textron Inc., is a producer of commercial and military, manned and unmanned vertical-lift aircraft and the pioneer of the revolutionary tiltrotor aircraft. Globally recognized for world-class customer service, innovation and superior quality, Bell's global workforce serves customers flying Bell aircraft in more than 120 countries.
Textron Inc. is a multi-industry company that leverages its global network of aircraft, defense, industrial and finance businesses to provide customers with innovative solutions and services. Textron is known around the world for its powerful brands such as Bell Helicopter, Cessna, Beechcraft, Hawker, Jacobsen, Kautex, Lycoming, E-Z-GO, Greenlee, Textron Off Road, Textron Systems, and TRU Simulation + Training.
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