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helicopter towing

Jemiba

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Shown in an article about tactical air transport in Interavia 7/1952 is the shown method
of towing a helicopter by a fixed-wing aircraft, with its rotors autorotating. Was this ever
tested in reality ? IMHO it should be feasible, at least theoretically ... ???
 

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Jemiba

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"Would they still be limited to a helicopters maximum speed?"

The speed, where the rotor/rotors is/are still producing just enough lift to keep the heli
in the air, thats not necessarily the maximum speed, the helicopter can achieve on
his own, I think.
But I'm not sure, if the dynamic systems of a helicopter are cleared for unlimited
autorotation. ???
 

Barrington Bond

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The other thing that comes to my mind is that a helicopters landing gear surely isn't designed to be pulled down a runaway to the aircrafts take off speed?!

Regards,
Barry
 

Jemiba

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Maybe true, although most wheeled helis can use a running take-off, but the landing gear may
need some modifications. Or the heli would take-off on its own and fly behind the "towing" aircraft
until both are in the air. With regards to take-off speed of a standard transport aircraft and maximum
flight speed of a helicopter, this should be feasible. But how transition between powered flight and
towed flight could be achieved in a safe way, I don't know !
 

Barrington Bond

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Looking at the pictures it looks like a rescue mission is occurring - a red cross appears to be on the fuselage side of the helicopter. Perhaps the transport is towing the helicopter beyond its fuel range to perform a rescue where the plane cannot land?

Are the pictures in the right order? I think picture 3 should be 2nd or it looks like the helicopter is reattaching itself to be towed!!!

Regards,
Barry
 

Jemiba

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In fact, this proposal is even more adventurous, than the idea of just towing a helicopter.
The heli should reach the target area in tow of an aircraft, release the tow cable, accomplish
its mission, take off and then it should be snapped in flight by a hooked cable catching a noose.
Such systems were tested with gliders during the war, or shortly after the war and found to
be workable, but cancelled because recognised as being to dangerous, AFAIK.
But maybe it wouldn't have been more dangerous in fact, than in-flight refuelling a helicopter ?
 

yasotay

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Jemiba said:
In fact, this proposal is even more adventurous, than the idea of just towing a helicopter.
The heli should reach the target area in tow of an aircraft, release the tow cable, accomplish
its mission, take off and then it should be snapped in flight by a hooked cable catching a noose.
Such systems were tested with gliders during the war, or shortly after the war and found to
be workable, but cancelled because recognised as being to dangerous, AFAIK.
But maybe it wouldn't have been more dangerous in fact, than in-flight refuelling a helicopter ?

Zero to one hundred and thirty knots in a couple of seconds tends to do ugly things to aircraft. Also even in auto-rotation you are not going to get much more than 170 knots (conditions depending). Second without some sort of lifting device other than the rotors pure autorotation is not going to produce enough lift to keep the helo from being more than a very large bit'o drag on the end of a line. Of course if you increase rotor pitch to produce lift, you also induce drag which means more power to the towing aircraft and a slower speed for the helo in order not to induce retreating blade stall.

I would have resigned on the spot if someone had expected me to do some hair-brain thing like that.
 

Orionblamblam

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Simpsons Germans did it!

 

Barrington Bond

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True, but surely that is just a converted glider built for that purpose...?

They also stuck rockets on it (original glider) so it could take off itself (Mussolini's rescue).

Regards,
Barry
 
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yeah maybe for a super light helicopter , with the body itself generating more lift than usual , this might be possible, i have a feeling that the lift dynamics for a such a system may be similar to some wind generators (electricity) that I have seen , which are not exactly rigid.
 

Jemiba

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"Simpsons Germans did it!"

The Brits did it, too ! ;)
(from http://www.aviastar.org/helicopters_eng/hafner_rotabuggy.php)
And they even planned, to tow a Matilda tank through the air !
Nevertheless, I think, too, that it's not a very practical idea . But there were other ideas,
that were tested in reality ...
 

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Barrington Bond

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...and.

http://www.flying-museum.org.uk/experimental_aircraft.htm
 

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