'Mono Tiltrotor' Combines Helicopter, Airplane and UFO

Helicopters are so last century. The future is in Mono Tiltrotors, apparently, and AeroCopter is about to develop a scale-model flight demonstrator prototype of one.

Seeking funding to support the work, the Boston, Massachusetts-based-AeroCopter's MTR vehicle has a single turbine driving a ducted fan pusher propeller and the electromagnetically driven 8.2m (27ft)-diameter ring that encircles the fuselage. Lift is generated by the rotor blades of the ring, which has counter-rotating upper and lower halves. A driveshaft linking the ring to the turbine uses permanent magnets to turn the ring, which has many more magnets located at short intervals around its circumference. Once at 1,000ft (305m) altitude the ring is tilted through 87° and locked in place.

AeroCopter has designed a 1,320kg (2,900lb) two-seat personal air vehicle with a cruise speed of at least 220kt (405km/h) and a range of 555km (300nm). There is also an unmanned air vehicle version.

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[Aerocopter via FlightGlobal]

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DISCUSSION

One advantage a system like this has over traditional rotors is that it eliminates the more inefficient middle portions. A propeller will always change profile from the middle to the edge:

This is because as the propeller rotates, the outer parts move at a much higher speed relative to the inner parts:

consequently, it is the outer 30% or so that provides the majority of lift to the aircraft. The loop appears to have roughly the same mass as the blade portions it replaces, but due to its shape the rotation has negligible wind resistance. Also, since the speed gradient across the blade now is much less severe, the blade itself can have a much simpler shape.