2104. Summary of Technology Needs for High Speed Rotorcraft


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M W Scott: 2104. Summary of Technology Needs for High Speed Rotorcraft. 1992.



An analytical study was conducted to identify rotorcraft concepts best capable of combining a cruise speed of 350 to 450 knots with helicopter-like low speed attributes and to define the technology advancements needed to make them viable for full scale development by the year 2000. A systematic approach was used to compare the relative attributes and required gross weights for a wide range of concepts, resulting in a downselect to the most promising concept/mission pairs. For transport missions, tilt-wing and variable diameter tilt-rotor (VDTR) concepts were found to be superior. For a military scout/attack role, the VDTR was best, although a shrouded rotor concept could provide a highly agile, low observable alternative if its weight empty fraction could be reduced. A design speed of 375 to 425 knots was found to be the maximum desirable for transport missions, with higher speed producing rapidly diminishing benefits in productivity. The key technologies that require advancement to make the tilt-wing and VDTR concepts viable are in the areas of wing and proprotor aerodynamics, efficient structural design, and flight controls. Specific attention needs to be given to proprotor blade geometry optimization, refinement of the geared flap pitch control system, expansion of the speed/descent envelope, and the structural and aerodynamic tradeoffs of wing thickness and forward sweep. For the shrouded rotor, weight reduction is essential, particularly with respect to the mechanism for covering the rotor in cruise.


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