World’s First Helicopter without a Tail Rotor
Recently, an established company in Belgium called Sagita invented a helicopter with a unique propulsion system. Sagita claim to have made a helicopter that can fly without a tail rotor making the aircraft 85% more efficient. It is named as Sherpa. Company director, Hubert Antoine suggested that the new design can also be applied to future helicopters and that Sherpa has also got the potential of being an UAV platform. This system is based on a motor that powers a compressor which has its air intake at the rear side instead of propelling the rotor directly. Air used for maintaining the engine’s combustion is then supplied from the compressor while a cooling system provides the necessary cooling. Two of each engine rotors are propelled by two turbines that are in turn driven by the compressed air at the temperature of 100º C (212º F).
Because of all the above features Sagita’s claim that as a result of lesser moving parts there is a lower need for maintenance of the helicopter. Characteristics of the new design include 1.45 m (4.8 ft) wide and 1.26 m (4.1 ft) high cockpit, and a bullet shaped fuselage for the air intake at the backside with the overall length being less than 4.8 m (15.8 ft).
The range of the helicopter is hypothetically calculated to be 400 km (250 miles) along with a cruise speed of 158 km/h the predictable maximum flight time is 5 hours and it can attain an altitude of up to 2000 m. Sagita affirmed, regarding the performance, that the 260 kg (573 lb) helicopter will be able to take off with additional 171 kg (377 lb) of payload, company asserts to have verified the concept using a 1:5 scale model.
Although the tests were carried out on a very small scale the above data is mostly theoretical and the first flight is expected to take off in the year 2015 with sales initiating after another year with a starting price of €150,000 (US$200,000).
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