Bell Unveils FCX-001 Concept Helicopter

| | March 8, 2017

From: Aviation International News

Bell Helicopter unveiled a mockup of its FCX-001 concept helicopter yesterday morning at Heli-Expo 2017 in Dallas. While not intended as a production helicopter, the FCX-001 will be used to examine future rotorcraft technologies and potential ways to put those into action in future helicopter programs.

With an airframe slightly longer and wider than that of a Bell 412, the composite FCX fuselage frames a glass-enclosed cockpit and cabin poised on aerodynamic main gear legs topped with a slimmed-down tailcone and a tiny vertical stabilizer with no tail rotor. The five main rotor blades look ordinary until their ends, where morphing technology takes over, allowing the last few feet of the blades to swing fore and aft to optimize rotor dynamics. The morphing blades also help control tip noise in real time, and Bell has applied for a patent on the design.

Anti-torque control of the FCX is vectored thrust through vanes in the tailboom, driven by electric motors for quieter operation, eliminating the weight and complexity of tail rotor driveshafts, gearboxes and blades. Two thermal engines are the main power source for the FCX.

While there is one pilot seat in the FCX, the helicopter could also be optionally piloted. In either case, cockpit displays will also be redundant, as the pilot would use augmented reality and a wearable head-up display to manage FCX flight.

 

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