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X-49A Piasecki Vectored Thrust Ducted Propellor Compound Helicopter (UH-60 mod)

Jemiba

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.. and another photo from Vertiflite, issue from summer 2006.
First flight was announced for "early in 2007" . If "early" means
at least in the first half, there are around two months time ... ;D
 

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CammNut

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This programme survives on funding "earmarked" - added to the Pentagon's budget - by Congress every year. If I remember correctly, it started out with a plan to use an AH-64 as a testbed, then an AH-1W, then the US Navy YSH-60F prototype now being used (the idea being it needed the thruster to pull a mine-countermeasures sled through the water), then the programme was transferred to the US Army (with the idea of making Black Hawks go faster so they are less vulnerable). Even if it flies, don't hold your breath waiting for it to go into production.

Piasecki also had some interesting ideas on rotorcraft unmanned air vehicles for the US Army's Future Combat Systems, including a modern version of its AirGeep, but they were cancelled last year.
 

Iranian F-14A

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Interesting waste of a H-60.I personally don't hold much for this concept,and I normally love every model of the Blackhawk/Seahawk.
 

yasotay

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Currently there are only two classes of UAS (Unmanned Aerial Systems) still on record for the FCS effort. The Class I and IV remain. CLI remains a ducted fan effort and the CL IV is the NG Firescout effort.

Cam is correct that the UCAR program was doing well in the Laboratory and the industry teams were moving well also. Indeed DARPA was preparing to down select to a single program when the Army decided it would not fund the program.

As to the X-49, the concept showed promise in simulation, with significant capability over the UH-60L and meeting many of the Army future requirements that the current UH-60 is only able to do with significant external support (FARPs). There are issues with the mechanical soundness of the planned high mounted wing and the proposed engine arrangement for the final version of the aircraft. The one seen in the pictures are a low wing initial effort by Piasecki.
 

CammNut

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Here's the latest picture from Piasecki. The completed X-49 "SpeedHawk" experimental compound helicopter has been moved to Boeing's flight test centre near Philadelphia and is being prepared for a first flight in June.

Funding permitting, Piasecki plans to fly the X-49 first within the existing SH-60 flight envelope (the aircraft is converted from a YSH-60 prototype) then bring it back to install the third engine and do a drag clean-up, including fitting retractable gear and a rotor-hub fairing, before trying for the target 200kt forward speed.

Funding permittting...
 

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Sundog

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That is such a cool looking Helo, I can't wait to see it fly.
 

yasotay

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CammNut!! Thanks for the great picture. Now to see if I can get to Philly for the first flight! Do you know the date?
 

Jos Heyman

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As a reply to my own request for information: I believed the serial is 163283.
 

Sentinel Chicken

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Does the whole tail assembly pivot to one side to counter rotor torque when in a hover? There appears to a break point on the tail boom where on a Seahawk the tail folds.
 

turboshaft

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The break is to allow the thruster section to be folded to reduce the vehicle's footprint. The vectoring is achieved by means of rudder and elevator sections within the VTDP.

The X-49A is strictly a tech demo; the use of a small turboshaft to power the VTDP section is not practical for a production vehicle, and was only driven by concerns over available installed power.
 

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yasotay

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turboshaft said:
The break is to allow the thruster section to be folded to reduce the vehicle's footprint. The vectoring is achieved by means of rudder and elevator sections within the VTDP.

The X-49A is strictly a tech demo; the use of a small turboshaft to power the VTDP section is not practical for a production vehicle, and was only driven by concerns over available installed power.
Actually believe their proposed endstate is to have a third engine installed (another T 700 series) to provide High/Hot power for the aircraft.
 

yasotay

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The X-49A flew for the first time yesterday (29June) in the afternoon. It hovered and did some coordinated turns. The flight was successful.

An interesting twist; Boeing has invested in the effort. In fact the flight testing is being done at a Boeing facility.

I will post a picture as soon as I get one.

Assuming Cammnut does not beat me to it. ;)
 

Sundog

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Excellent! I can't wait to see the pictures. Hopefully the tests will go well enough to begin forward flight trials soon.
 

CammNut

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yasotay said:
Assuming Cammnut does not beat me to it. ;)
Dang - it's a weekend and I can't rise to the challenge!

Here's what Dave Harvey ha to say about the first flight on Rotorhub.com:

Exclusive: Piasecki Team Celebrates VTDP First Flight

Late Friday, Piasecki Aircraft re-entered the helicopter history books with a 15 minute flight of its unique compound helicopter design, the X-49A SpeedHawk.

Lifting off at Boeing’s Rotorcraft Div., Wilmington, Del, test facility at 7.50 pm the flight test team - which had worked all week to resolve a pesky shaft vibration problem - put the aircraft through a series of turns and a short forward flight sequence.

Pilots Steve Schellburg and ‘Snake’ Jackson guided the SH-60F-based helicopter - modified with its Piasecki-designed VTDP (vectored thrust ducted propeller) tail assembly - on a maiden voyage reportedly free of any problems.

A clearly delighted company chief executive John Piasecki tells rotorhub he regards the flight as the ‘beginning of the beginning’ for the return of compound helicopter flight efficiencies to the rotorcraft industry.

Compunds promise radical increases in speed and range for conventional helicopters by off-loading rotors in favor of wingborne flight.

The Piasecki design uses a ducted propeller to provide motive thrust, as well as vectored control of direction.

‘It’s been a long, long time coming, and we’re all savoring the moment,’ he said.

The team is utilising Boeing flight test telemetry facilities at Wilmington once used for V-22 testing, and - as reported in rotorhub last week - the latter is co-operating on the program because of potential interest in the VTDP design for future applications.

Piasecki has just signed a $3.1-million development contract with the Army’s AATD (Aviation Applied Technology Directorate) organisation in Ft. Eustis, Va., one of the more a forward-looking agencies often associated with pushing rotorcraft technology boundaries.

Piasecki says a 100-hour flight test program now lies ahead.

‘The schedule is still fluid but we anticipate being able to get this done within the rest of the year.’ The program will receive incremental funding as it progresses, he said.

The success of the first flight has enormous potential significance for a technology that many have often derided as impractical.

The Piasecki organisation stuck to its guns, however, working the problem resolutely for many, many years, drawing on bursts of funding enthusiasm mostly from within the Navy, the US Marine Corps and the Army.

‘A lot of people said this day would never come,’ Piasecki said. ‘Well, they were wrong.’

* A personal loss - the sudden death last week of Carl, USMC sergeant son of Terry Crews a well regarded figure in the helicopter industry - motivated the flight to be dedicated to him, Piasecki said.

- David S. Harvey
 

CammNut

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Here's the Flight link and the pic itself

http://www.flightglobal.com/articles/2007/07/03/215329/picture-piasecki-flies-x-49a-speedhawk-compound-helicopter.html
 

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turboshaft

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yasotay said:
Actually believe their proposed endstate is to have a third engine installed (another T 700 series) to provide High/Hot power for the aircraft.
Indeed. While the X-49A is a demo-only aircraft, the SpeedHawk SOV design would - if ever funded - mount three T700-401Cs.

Some interesting claims now emerging from Piasecki. The Speedhawk will reportedly increase the H-60's MGW to 29,444 lb (for STOL ops, assuming it holds together ;D), and - allegedly - quadruple the type's range. Note also that the current aircraft configuration does not yet incorporate the SPU, only the two T700s.
 

yasotay

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Well considering how bad the 60's are 'huffin-en-puffin' in A-stan they need to do something.

Here is an interesting note: The Army Infantry Center did not concur with the development of the UH-60M. It did nothing for them.
 

SteveO

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I've been looking forward to seeing this fly. Westland had some ideas about a compound Lynx demonstrator a few years back in support of a possible compound Merlin helicopter for the RN's FOAEW requirement.

Pic from http://navy-matters.beedall.com/masc.htm
 

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CammNut

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The interesting aspect of the proposed compund Lynx was the use of variable-area nozzles on the engines (larger RTM322s instead of Gems, I think) to provide the propulsive thrust for high-speed forward flight.
 

sferrin

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I see this stuff and it makes me wish the Cheyenne had made it. To me the only real handy cap it had was being single-engined (albeit a LARGE single engine). It would be interesting to compare the stats of the single-engine Cobras with the Apaches as far as loses due to the engine(s) go.
 

yasotay

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It only takes one crew getting back on one engine to make it worth the cost. As an old Cobra driver I loved my ride, but I have seen damaged Apaches come home that would have made a Cobra a "Smokin' hole in the ground".
 

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yasotay

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The X-49 flew at 160 knots. Thats 5 knots faster than a UH-60 will do in
level flight.
 

SlickDriver

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yasotay said:
It only takes one crew getting back on one engine to make it worth the cost. As an old Cobra driver I loved my ride, but I have seen damaged Apaches come home that would have made a Cobra a "Smokin' hole in the ground".
As an old Slick driver I will take an aircraft that isn't a hanger queen like the Apache. If the engine won't start it isn't worth much.
 

yasotay

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Loren said:
yasotay said:
It only takes one crew getting back on one engine to make it worth the cost. As an old Cobra driver I loved my ride, but I have seen damaged Apaches come home that would have made a Cobra a "Smokin' hole in the ground".
As an old Slick driver I will take an aircraft that isn't a hanger queen like the Apache. If the engine won't start it isn't worth much.
???... actually they are getting pretty good OR rates downrange these days. Also the high DA&PA they are operating at you need the power. Don't get me wrong the H-1's were great, I really enjoyed the ability to get off the ground in three minutes from a cold start, less if it was preflighted through "battery on", but two engines are better than one anytime in my book. I had an engine on my UH-60 go west on day 4 of ODS. Instead of sitting in the middle of Indian country waiting for someone to come get us, we off loaded all the crap into other birds and flew on one engine to the next assembly area.

Back to the story above, I personally never got a Hawk above 130 KIAS in level flight, and that was not pretty. It was shaking so bad I could hardly see the instruments, I was slick and was still pulling the guts out of the engines. Yes it was an Alpha model but then the X-49A is also, though a USN bird.
 

CammNut

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Flight test video now available. Says they've got it up to 177kt, going downhill...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yu2CwHwxJYA
 

LowObservable

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And the same video turns up on The Woracle by some uncanny coincidence...

Looking at this, I'm guessing that you have to provide some reverse thrust component from the rotor.
 

Jemiba

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In vertiflite winter '07 there's an interesting comparison of the shrouded pusher prop
of the Piasecki Pathfinder and the Speedhawk. In the older aircraft, yaw control
was achieved using venetians blinds in the ring, whereas the Speedhawk uses
moving sectors in the ring. the old dog has learned a new trick ..

Additionally there's a photo of a model of a H-60 with pusher and high set,
forward swept wings.
 

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flateric

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Great hi-rez test fligh pics from muzicman82
http://www.flickr.com/photos/muzicman82/tags/speedhawk/
 

Triton

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Ideas on Show at Helo Forum in Montreal
Posted by Graham Warwick at 5/2/2008 11:48 AM CDT
The US helicopter industry may be growing concerned about when the next new military rotorcraft programme is coming, but it is not lacking in ideas. Here are some of those on show at the AHS International forum in Montreal this week. (My thanks to AHS Forum 64 technical chair Mike Hirschberg for the photographs.)

This 240kt-dash light tactical helicopter is one of several applications Sikorsky is studying for its coaxial-rotor X2 Technology. The company's technology demonstrator should be beginning ground runs with its blades on right around now, and fly fairly soon.

Piasecki and Boeing have worked together on this "minimum" modification of the Chinook, called the Tilt Duct CH-47. It uses a simplified version of the Vectored Thrust Ducted Propeller (VTDP) now flying on Piasecki's X-49A Speedhawk. Thrusting vertically, the ducted props would add about 30% lift. Thrusting horizontally they would push the Chinook towards 200kt. Other changes to the basic CH-47 include bigger engines to drive the rotors and props, relocating the fuel tanks under the cabin, streamling the aft fuselage and fairing the hubs to reduce drag. Otherwise the cockpit, cabin, pylons and rotors are unchanged.

Piasecki and Boeing also schemed this VTDP-equipped compound helicopter, the Viper Cobra, "a couple of years ago" as a high-speed escort for the US Marine Corps' MV-22 Osprey tiltrotor. The fuselage is new, but the rotor comes straight from the Chinook and cockpit from the Bell AH-1W SuperCobra.

Karem Aircraft displayed models of both its latest TR75 Optimum Speed Tilt Rotor (OSTR) concept for the US Army's Joint Heavy Lift requirement, and the TR53 AeroTrain civil tiltrotor, which would be based on the 71%-scale demonstrator proposed for the JHL programme.

JHL is now being merged with the US Air Force's AJACS C-130 replacement, and there are no longer plans to build technology demonstrators, but Predator UAV designer Abe Karem says he is privately funding construction of a prototype rotor and drive system for the 120-seat AeroTrain.
 

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fightingirish

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Among the bidders [for the Joint Multi-Role (JMR) program] is Piasecki, which is proposing the Pathfinder IV compound-helicopter based on its X-49A Speedhawk. On display is a model (below) of the smaller Pathfinder IV-2, sized for shipborne operations.

A couple of interesting design points. Firstly, the wings are hinged to tilt vertical in the hover to reduce the downforce from rotor downwash. Differential tilt (one slightly forward, one slightly back) can offset rotor toque in the hover. Secondly, engine exhaust is ducted to the tips of the V-shaped tail surfaces for stealth and to avoid hot gasses entering the vectored-thrust ducted propeller.
Source: Ares - On the Show Floor at Quad-A, posted by Graham Warwick at 4/19/2011
 

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circle-5

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This might be a compound helicopter. It might be a factory model. It might be from Piasecki. I can provide no proof of anything. Please don't scold me if this isn't a helicopter. I don't want to annoy anyone.

This photo was definitely taken by Chad Slattery for the Smithsonian's Air & Space magazine.
 

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Stargazer2006

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The Piasecki X-49 Speedhawk (also known as the UH-60 VTDP) has had a topic of its own for quite a while, so I moved the last two posts where they belonged...
 

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circle-5 said:
This might be a compound helicopter. It might be a factory model. It might be from Piasecki.
Are there really such things as "factory models" anymore? I suspect the vas majority of such things are outsourced, not done in-house.

In any event, it's a pretty funky design. Any idea of scale? Like as not it's a modified model kit or toy. I it's one of the old 1/18 Ultimate Soldier toys, it'd be a quite impressive model.

Please don't scold me if this isn't a helicopter.
It ain't Wendell Wilkie...

I don't want to annoy anyone.


This photo was definitely taken by Chad Slattery for the Smithsonian's Air & Space magazine.
Was it published? Is it yet to be published?
 
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