Engineers from Bell Helicopter, a Textron Company, and The Boeing Company have unleashed a unique aircraft that has been turning heads at recent air shows, and for good reason.
The Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey was designed from the ground up (a rarity in a downturned economy, it seems) to meet the needs of multiple armed services. In doing so, it combines the capabilities of a helicopter with those of fixed-wing turboprop; it is capable of vertical and short take-off and landings.
“The tiltrotor aircraft takes off and lands like a helicopter. Once airborne, its engine nacelles can be rotated to convert the aircraft to a turboprop airplane capable of high-speed, high-altitude flight,” describes a Boeing spokesperson.
The flexible V-22 Osprey is gaining global attention, after making a dramatic Middle Eastern debut at the Dubai Airshow. In fact, Scott Donnelly, chairman, president, and CEO of Textron Inc., of which Bell Helicopter is part, anticipates between 10 and 12 countries to buy the V-22 Osprey tiltrotor after 2015.
“The amount of interest in the V-22 exceeded our highest expectations leading up to the show, with many regional officials requesting briefings and demonstration flights,” reveals Michael Andersen, deputy director of the Bell Boeing V-22 Program. “We are now working on follow-up visits and providing information as requested by several governments.”
“It is clear the V-22 is the right solution for those seeking range, speed, payload, and operational efficiency for military and humanitarian operations,” explains John Rader, executive director of the Bell Boeing V-22 Program.
This geek thinks that some of the reason that Bell Helicopter continues to deliver innovative aircraft designs is that its engineers are provided tools to enable them to think out of the box and foster creativity. For example, Bell Helicopter has standardized on Mentor Graphics software tools for the design of helicopter electrical wiring systems. More on this later!