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Evaluation of Hybrid Rotorcraft/Disk Wing Concept

rotocraft.jpg (93991 bytes)Problem: Black Machining and Technology of Batavia, Ohio, is looking for technical assistance in the area of structures design and aerodynamics performance assessment of a hybrid "MODUS" rotorcraft/disk wing concept. Assistance was also required in obtaining financing which would permit design completion, and the construction of a flying prototype.

The MODUS concept employs two directly coupled concentric counter-rotating disks shaped as a circular wing , to serve as the vertical lift rotor system. Fixed bladelets emanate from the disk along radial axes of the upper and lower sections. Together, the disks serve as a fixed wing for conventional flight.


Solution:
Black Machining and Technology's goal is to build the rotor system with bladelets that will retract into their respective disk sections as engine power is removed from the rotor system and transferred to a conventional turbine engine thrust mode for forward flight.

Over the past year Wright Technology Network (WTN) has continued to coordinate with Air Force Research Laboratory Air Vehicles Directorate (AFRL/VA) aerodynamics and aeromechanics scientists in an effort to establish interest in a potential joint research program between AFRL/VA and Black Machining to evaluate the MODUS disk wing design and performance characteristics. WTN has also assisted Black Machining in proposal strategies for SBIR programs.

Benefits:

  • The vehicle will cruise at speeds close to that of conventional general aviation jet aircraft since the VTOL rotor system converts to a non-rotating disk wing in flight.
  • The MODUS concept eliminates both the rotor and rear torque rotor drag coefficients, allowing fuel efficiencies that nearly match that of same sized fixed wing aircraft.
  • Rotor system is less complicated than for a conventional helicopter and less expensive to build, operate and maintain.
  • Concentric counter rotating disk system greatly reduces the pulsating "thump, thump, thump........," that is characteristic of conventional bladed rotor systems.
  • To achieve speeds in the 250 to 300 knot range MODUS avoids the extremely expensive and complex tilt mechanism, and difficult maneuvering associated with the movement of the VTOL rotor system from a horizontal to vertical plane ( e.g., the V-22 or the Bell 609 )

Current Status:

  • WTN has continued to provide assistance on: proposal strategies, efforts to generate interest in the "MODUS" advanced (hybrid rotor/disk wing) air vehicle technology by Air Vehicles Directorate scientists, and has provided guidance regarding the submission of a study proposal to NASA.
  • Black Machining and Technology has had several contacts with general aviation manufacturers interested in the MODUS.
  • Black Machining and Technology has negotiated an agreement, and has issued a short term license, with a contractor that is expected to test a radio-controlled 8 foot scale model of the craft in the near future.
  • Several inquiries about MODUS from European contractors with particular interest from a German company were received.
  • Black Machining and Technology continues to talk with venture capital investors within and outside the State of Ohio in an effort to secure funding to complete the design and construction of a flying prototype in Ohio.
If you have any questions about this Technical Assistance Project or are interested in getting more information about Wright Technology Network and technology transfer, please contact Jim Singer (937) 253-0217 or crada@wtn.org.

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