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Forget Flying Cars, Autogyro Is The Future


According to Carter Aviation Technologies, we need to forget about making flying cars and focus more on slow-rotor/compound. The Texas-based company considers that the SR/C is the ultimate key to a personal and more practical transportation aircraft. From the looks of this second-generation aircraft, he might be right as the project looks very promising.

The firm’s latest flight test aircraft is a proof-of-concept unit of a 4-seat autogyro that is capable of doing a vertical takeoff and landing. The company has been testing the autogyro and at the beginning of this year they managed to complete a 36 minutes flight which is the longest they ever accomplished. By using computer controls that are similar to the ones found on many conventional aircrafts plus various automated systems, the pilot workload has been significantly reduced.

Benefiting from the SR/C technology, the aircraft has the ability to cruise more efficiently in comparison to a helicopter by using the wings and the slowed rotor during level flight. Despite the fact that it can’t hover like a helicopter, it can however take off and land vertically which allows it to fly in and out of tight areas. The thrust is provided by the pusher propeller installed at the rear.

The autogyro pictured is a 4-place version of Carter’s prototype that became the very first aircraft to achieve mu-1. This accomplishment is the key to Carter’s vision as the ability to fly with a ? of 1 means that the drag of the aircraft is reduced. This mu ratio for a rotary wing aircraft is the ratio between the forward speed of the aircraft and the forward speed of the tip of the rotor. In order to reduce the drag, the purpose is to slow the rotor down enough so that a ? value of 1 is achieved which Carter managed to do with his promising prototype.

If this prototype will become a success, there are many chances that we will be able to see a much simpler version of the tilt-rotor V-22 Osprey which the military has been working on for quite a while, not managing to take off and land just like a helicopter and fly similar to a normal fixed-wing aircraft. As a matter of fact, Carter’s technology is at the moment being analyzed by the military for creating a new method of transporting troops.

In the first phases of flight testing, the test pilots are evaluating and verifying the flight-control systems of the aircraft and attempt vertical landings and takeoffs. The next phase of testing will include adding a 45-foot wing to the autogyro and refining the slowed-rotor aspects of the flight envelope.

Although they said that there are no plans at the moment for production, the company said that it may team up with another firm in order to produce a version of this very interesting and promising autogyro aircraft that could revolutionize flying as we know it.

Source: Wired.com


One Response to Forget Flying Cars, Autogyro Is The Future

  1. Keith Evans says:

    Not a bad substitute for flying cars. I doubt if flying cars will come into reality. It’s very hard to perfect. But this one makes a good substitute.

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