20 October 2010

Fast Helicopters and Flying HumVees

DARPA aims to power its flying humvee with a diesel engine, giving it extra range.
According to a company statement, Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne are going to model the Transformer engine on their EnduroCORE, a diesel engine that generates a “high power-to-weight ratio comparable to gas turbines.” It’ll need to. Darpa’s specifications for the flying Humvee require the Transformer to stay in the air carrying up to 1000 pounds for up to 250 miles without refueling. Diesel’s energy efficiency apparently satisfied Darpa’s suggestion that the Transformer be at least somewhat green. _DangerRoom
Meanwhile, Brian Wang brings us up to date on the speed duel between the EurocopterX3 and Sikorsky's X2 supercopter.
The X3 has so far only flown once, in a 35-minute flight that tested its hovering behaviour and Billig says it performed as designed. It won't be going for any high speed attempts until late 2011, but they are initially aiming to bust 400 km/h.

Sikorsky is already well on the way to achieving its speed aim of over 500 km/h. In a test flight in September, the X2 unofficially broke the previous record of 400 km/h, which was set by the Westland Lynx in 1986. The X2 achieved 463 km/h, but due to its propellers, it is unclear if the craft will be recognised in the same category by the FAI, the world's air sports federation based in Lausanne, Switzerland, that oversees aviation records. _BrianWang
Vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) aircraft provide crucial functionality for both military and civilian applications. The race for more speed and maneuverability is likely to continue for some time.

Combining land travel with VTOL capability in the same vehicle makes sense for military and expedition-type enterprises. Land travel uses much less fuel, and allows you to take advantage of land-based fuel caches which may not be accessible directly by air. Being able to hop over rivers, canyons, and other obstacles expedites progress toward an objective.

The advantage of a craft that combines the ability to fly, to travel over the surface of water, and to travel over all terrain land surfaces should also be obvious to any would-be Galtist or survivalist.

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