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Can civilian hybrid helicopter and airplane to compete with regional aircraft?


2016 AgustaWestland company plans to certify the first commercial tiltrotor AW609. This design is a hybrid turboprop aircraft with rotating propulsion system for vertical take-off. For the first time in the history of aviation, such a machine would receive operating certificate. As explained by the representatives of the developer, the certification tests will include both a helicopter and parts of aircraft (curiously, by the way, where the certification bodies will be taken to a flight in a transient mode, when a tiltrotor vertical takeoff after turning power plants and converted into a plane). To date, four ready prototype tiltrotor that are being tested in the United States and Italy. 


Italian-British AgustaWestland helicopter design company in 2011, remained the only developer civil tiltrotor AW609, buying the stake from its partner - the American company Bell. Earlier, in 1996, the intention to create such a machine said the American Bell and Boeing. Two years later, Boeing withdrew from the project and nekotroe time later, the team joined the program AgustaWestland civil tiltrotor. In March 2003, the first test flight of the joint development of the car Bell and AgustaWestland - BA609 (later renamed it AgustaWestland AW609). 
Creating a hybrid car has a half-century history. Vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) began to be developed in the 50s. XX century. Depending on the principle of a lifting force on the vertical mode, these VTOL divided into two classes. The first are the aircraft used for flights in the vertical mode energy of the gas jet jet engine. The second - by creating a vertical thrust propellers to them belong tiltrotor. 
VTOL first type designed primarily for military purposes. Examples of such machines are the American McDonnell Douglas AV-8 Harrier II and the Russian Yak-38. However, in the 70-ies. developed a variety of projects to create the passenger version of this aircraft. Among them, the British Hawker Siddeley HS-141 and German Dornier Do31, but the work on these projects has not been completed and serially such machines have been issued. There were many reasons, but probably the most important of them - the sharp rise in prices in the mid-70 oil and therefore jet fuel. 
In addition, in view of the technical features of jet VTOL difficult to manage and requires the highest level of pilot skills. Such armed forces are highly unstable in the transition from vertical to horizontal mode. Bright illustration is that of the Yak-38 was perhaps the only one, even in the history of military aviation aircraft with automatic ejection of a pilot - on takeoff the plane could tip over so quickly that the pilot did not have time to react. While Popping catapult man has not accepted the correct posture, can cause serious spinal injuries. In general, the potential risks in the operation of the aircraft, coupled with the inevitable high fuel consumption make the prospect of further development of civil aircraft of this class is extremely doubtful.
Unlike jet VTOL aircraft of another class - a tiltrotor - was developed. The first such technology colleges sun was created by the American company Bell in 1955 The aircraft was called the Bell XV-3, after a series of tests in the 60-ies. it was decided to develop another experimental model - Bell XV-15, its first flight took place in 1977 This work led to the creation of a single commercially available at the moment tiltrotor Bell V-22 Osprey. It is used for military purposes and is involved mainly in the Marine Corps and the United States Air Force. Its first test flight took place in 1989, and the beginning of operation of accounts for 2005, time spent on testing, says about the difficulties faced by developers in the course of polishing machine, the tests were accompanied by catastrophes and loss of pilots. 
Despite the fact that the AW609 is second class VTOL, AgustaWestland AW609 positioned as a kind of regional aircraft. He is designed to carry nine passengers, length composite fuselage - 14.04 m, height - 5,1 m. 
Tiltrotor AW609 is equipped with two turboprop engines PT6C-67A production of Pratt & Whitney, which are located at the ends of the wing and can be rotated together with screws from the vertical to the horizontal position, providing the appropriate flight mode. The power plant is designed so that in the event of failure of one of the engines of the machine can continue the flight and landing. 
It is worth noting that the AW609 can take off and land not only vertically, but also with the use of wing lift, while its capacity increased. Maximum take-off weight in the vertical mode is 7620 kg, with a take-off with a running start - 8164 kg. 
AW609 is equipped with avionics Rockwell Collins, which unified c dashboard and management principles ruler helicopters AW169 / 139/189. Also standardized some of the components and systems of the aircraft. This, according to the European company should facilitate the production of aircraft operation AgustaWestland, and the production cost is reduced. 
Overview of the cockpit in konvertoplanov not as big as the helicopter, which can create difficulties, for example, when the landing aircraft on the poorly equipped playground. One of the recent improvement has been the change in the slope of the nose machine 10 ° during landing, which increases visibility for the pilot. 
Manufacturer believes that this machine is especially popular in the market of business aviation, as well as search and rescue operations through a combination of characteristics such as vertical take-off and rapid movement. On the one hand, it can take off and land vertically on the poorly equipped small areas. Then, through the device of the rotary screw helicopter for a few seconds goes into flight mode, typical for the aircraft. Equipped with wings machine develops a great rate and has less noise and vibration compared to the helicopter. AW609 is able to cover distances of up to 1,300 km with a maximum speed of 510 km / h (275 knots). With such characteristics AgustaWestland AW609 classifies as a new type of regional aircraft, and not like a helicopter. However, the manufacturer stresses that the tiltrotor is still inferior to the normal plane in comfort - noise and vibration, which produces AW609, more than in the jets. In addition, it is necessary to calculate the economy very seriously operation devyatimestnoy twin-engine machine - unit cost may be too high. 
By now ordered 70 such Sun customers from 30 countries. Sales are distributed evenly over the four regions - North America, Europe, Asia and the rest of the world. Nevertheless, the manufacturer expects more orders from clients in countries located on the islands, such as Japan, or from residents of cities where there is a need for passenger transport on significant distance and limited space for planting. Also, the manufacturer said that the interest in this model configuration for ambulance and search and rescue operators expressed Civil Aviation Australia - including for flights over the sea. 
AgustaWestland has developed four configurations AW609: for passenger transport Class VIP, for government agencies (class VVIP), for search and rescue operations and to conduct offshore (offshore) works. Most booked medical and rescue AW609 (about 40%), distributed in equal proportions by the rest of the ordered konvertoplanov. 20% of the ordered machines will be provided to government agencies, VIP-transport and perform offshore work. First deliveries to customers konvertoplanov scheduled for early 2017


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