02 July 2011

Revolutionary D-Dalus Rotor Craft Debuts for Royal Society

The revolutionary Austrian hovercraft design -- D-Dalus -- was recently exhibited at the Royal Aeronautical Society. The craft is still early in the development stage, but the claims flying around the future capabilities of the future craft are astronomical.
At the heart of D-DALUS is a revolutionary propulsion system containing a number of patented inventions, including a friction free bearing at the points of high G force, and a system that keeps propulsion in dynamic equilibrium, thereby allowing the guidance system to quickly restore stability in flight.

The propulsion consists of 4 sets of contra-rotating disks, each set driven at the same rpm by a conventional aero-engine. The disks are surrounded by blades whose angle of attack can be altered by off-setting the axis of the rotating disks. As each blade can be given a different angle of attack, the resulting main thrust can be in any required direction in 360° around any axis. This allows the craft to launch vertically, remain in a fixed position in the air, travel in any direction, rotate in any direction, and thrust upwards thereby ‘gluing down’ on landing. _D-Dalus Detail
Austrian research company IAT21 has presented a new type of aircraft at the Paris Air Show which has the potential to become aviation's first disruptive technology since the jet engine.

The D-Dalus (a play on Daedalus from Greek mythology) is neither fixed wing or rotor craft and uses four, mechanically-linked, contra-rotating cylindrical turbines, each running at the same 2200 rpm, for its propulsion.

The key to the D-Dalus' extreme maneuverability is the facility to alter the angle of the blades (using servos) to vector the forces, meaning that the thrust can be delivered in your choice of 360 degrees around any of the three axes. Hence D-Dalus can launch vertically, hover perfectly still and move in any direction, and that's just the start of the story. _Gizmag_via_NextBigFuture
This propulsion system may eventually scale from the microscopic to the size of large freight haulers. I suspect it will be pursued initially as a spy and surveillance platform, and as an insertion and extraction method for special ops teams. Also as remotely-operated stealthy substitutes for attack helicopters such as the Apache. Eventually, it may provide the platform for flying cars and flying boats, among other consumer and adventure toys.
The most obvious and immediate application for D-Dalus is as a little flying spy robot that can fly in doors and windows and snoop around indoors. Larger versions would be perfect for search and rescue missions, and the designers even think that in the long term, vehicles based on this technology might be what you use to commute to work. That's right — flying cars! _Dvice

I suspect that these toys will prove quite expensive to buy, operate, and maintain, but I would like to be proven wrong about that. At this point, they are at the prototype stage, and may not become reliable enough for even military use for quite some time.

Adapted from an article previously published at Al Fin, The Next Level


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