Piasecki X-49A Speedhawk (born hawk High) — an experimental South American machine, which is considered to be a helicopter, but thus contains within itself the elements and helicopter, and is seemingly the forgotten aircraft — gyroplane. It should be noted that this type of aircraft was actually already written off in the harsh aviation. But if the project X-49A Speedhawk all the same end mass creation, this type of aircraft will be able to get a new breath, and at the success of this model will be able to count on the occupation of their own place under the sun. The same place, which at one time have secured classic helicopters.
First, it is necessary to remind the reader that still represents a gyroplane. These aircraft owned rotor (HB) for the creation of the lift, but with all this, they screw turns in autorotation under the influence of aerodynamic forces. Gyroplane rotor has a lightweight construction, it has swash during the flight is tilted backwards, against the air flow — like an aircraft wing having a positive angle of attack. At the same time, tilt the own helicopters rotor-side movement. Additionally, the gyro also normally equipped pusher or puller as in conventional aircraft, which belong to aviation piston. Specifically using such propeller gyro provides its horizontal speed.
Besides gyros differ from vertibird who own the same drive from HB motor that allows them to be used as a helicopter flight mode, and autorotation. With their high speed flight rotor system works in a similar way with gyros (used autorotation steps), providing only lift the machine, but not craving. We can say that vertibirds took a middle position, combining inside helicopters and gyroplanes properties.
But back to the «high-speed hawk.» In Russian title of the developer of this experimental apparatus sounds like Piasecki. Forerunner of the modern X-49A Speedhawk helicopter was Pathfinder, which the company began designing Piasecki in 1960 of the last century. Specifically that car for the first time returned to the designers forgotten gyro. Own first flight Pathfinder made February 21, 1961, less than a year by helicopter, as originally planned, it was found the wing and the control screw has been replaced by a three-bladed pusher propeller nose over owning surfaces controlled output. The latter condition ensures the machine worthwhile management and fended torque. During flight tests built benchmark managed to reach a cruising speed of 273 km / h After such of success in financing the project has joined the U.S. Defense Department, putting condition merits speed of 370 km / h
At the request of a military helicopter project Pathfinder have been made some changes, namely increased desired load lengthened fuselage, increased remotorization, modified push and rotors. After which the helicopter received the designation 16H-1A or Pathfinder II. Significant acceleration of the aircraft has been achieved through the redistribution of power input to the rotor by a pusher propeller. In this mode of the main lift Pathfinder II was created using the wing. Results of the tests were more than encouraging — the helicopter was able to develop a speed of 361 km / h, the car features a good agility and maneuverability both at low and at high flight speeds.
Flight tests Pathfinder II were launched September 21, 1967, and already first in 1968, the U.S. Army placed an order for 375 similar machines. Built aircraft could develop a speed 407 km / h, also carry a significant payload. But due to numerous technical problems, and after a series of disasters that have occurred with samples of the machine, and plans for mass production of a combat helicopter Pathfinder II were dismantled and work on this project absolutely stopped in 1972. Theoretical work on the helicopters of the scheme led Piasecki company before 1978, and then suspended them because of the shortcomings of funding.
But production of Piasecki were absolutely forgotten in the 90 years of the last century, military remembered again about them. It was at this time the U.S. Army showed intrigued in improving traits combat helicopters AH-1W SuperCobra and AH-64 Apache. The result was a severe amount of work done, which included a series of ground tests and full-scale simulation. Military needed new management system, the configuration of the box, etc. Ultimately, the South American defense establishment has made an order for modification medium multipurpose helicopter UH-60 Black Hawk. About 3 years of the project, he was given a new name and code — X-49A Speedhawk.
Fundamentally the difference this project from an old 16H-1 was another design, used to distinguish the airflow pushing screws — was applied more effective, composite hemisphere, which could be rotated 90 degrees in the hover and at low speeds, but at high speed horizontal flight it fits into the contour of the casing. Through this managed to get rid of the source of vibration in the tail support and lower the load. Own first flight of the X-49A completed June 29, 2007.
As a result, a new series of tests X-49A SpeedHawk showed an increase rate of 47% in such a basic SH-60F helicopter performance capacity, but this machine showed a decrease in the vibration level 2 times. Technical properties of the «Rapid hawk» have been improved through the use of the push tube placed in the tail rotor, which has thrust vector control — Vectored Thrust Ducted Propeller (VTDP) and wings, which have reduced the load on the rotor and lift increment. The company plans to Piasecki including the installation of retractable chassis and fairing on the main rotor hub for the upcoming reduction of vibrations, also installed on the third X-49A engine.
The manufacturer plans to bring the cruising speed of the serial car to 383 km / h, the highest speed flight up to 415 km / h At the same time serial multirole helicopter SH-60F can develop a maximum of 256 km / h Unfilled mass X-49A will increase by 700 kg., First by installing third motor. With all of this radius acts helicopter to grow almost 3 times, and capacity will increase by 230 kg.
After the first step test Piasecki Aircraft has received funds for improvements and the second step of its own flight test pilot of the helicopter. According to Aviation Week, now the Pentagon and Congress agreed on funding applets at 7.8 million dollars. Separately is necessary to emphasize the fact that after the 1st step of flight tests X-49A SpeedHawk his subsequent prospects remain unclear. Well appointed and the project financing will not be able to solve all the problems, because according to representatives of Piasecki Aircraft, is missing for the implementation of all project activities in full and should be increased. Immediately, the company declared and positive signals that are received by the U.S. military.
Aircraft performance properties of X-49 Speedhawk:
Rotor diameter — 16.36 m, length — 20.1 m, height — 5,23 m
Empty weight — 6190 kg., Takeoff weight — 9575 kg.
Powerplant: 2 GTE General Electric T700-GE-701C, power 1208 kW each.
The highest speed — 415 km / h
Cruising speed — 383 km / h
Operational range — 700 km.
Service ceiling — 5790 m
Crew: 3 people.