FINMECCANICA presents new tilt-rotor aircraft!
BELL-AGUSTA Aerospace Company, a subsidiary of the FINMECCANICA Group, and already the manufacturer of the AW-129 "Mangusta" attack helicopter, the world's best in its category, has announced that the launch of the BA-609 is close; the BA-609 is already advertised as the "World's first civil tilt-rotor aircraft", although military uses are planned as well: more specifically the Italian Navy and the Italian Air Force are already planning adoption. It has been in-development since early 2006.
Hope it won't end up like the V-22 "Osprey", been under development for 25 years and costed over 100 million US$ worth of taxpayers' money...
See it HERE, HERE, and HERE.
Re: FINMECCANICA presents new tilt-rotor aircraft!
OK, here's what has bothered me about the design for the V-22, and likely is a feature shared on this vehicle...
"The proprotors are connected to each other by shafting which maintains proprotor synchronization and provides single engine power to both proprotors in the event of an engine failure."
They place the engines way out on the wingtips but still design it to absolutely require a large shaft transmitting power between them. If you are going to do that anyway, why not move the engines to the center ventral portion of the craft between the wings, and drive the props through a shaft from the middle? 2, 3, 4... however many engines you want could power the shaft and failure of any one engine would be even less problematic than with the current design. And all the components necessary to do this already exist in the V-22, this would end up being less complex and reduce load requirements on some parts. It would also reduce the space/weight requirements on the nacelles and allow them to be better aerodynamically tailored to their jobs.
I mean sure, the engine right behind the prop LOOKS more reliable, but as soon as they started synchronizing them through a shaft and driving power through it, any reliability gains from engine-behind-prop went out the window.
Well, the BA-609 is smaller than the V-22 Osprey; its main military use would be the fast transport of small dismounted units (i.e. Special Forces) as an alternative to helicopters, when a greater range/authonomy is required, as well as Search-and-Rescue purposes (HERE is a picture of the first BA-609 chassis built with Italian Navy insigna). But again, FINMECCANICA also aims for civilian sales, and there are some kinda classy liveries available...
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