Tiltrotor Aircraft – definition and more

Let’s think of an aircraft that can fly at long range and fast like a fixed wing airplane and take off from its position like a helicopter and land without the need for runway. Tiltrotor is an aircraft designed for that idea.

Tiltrotor Aircraft definition
Tiltrotor Aircraft – Basic principles

Tilt rotor is an aircraft that moves with the thrust and lifting power created by one or more rotors fixed to the rotary engine cover or basket. Tiltrotors can take off vertically when their rotors are in vertical position. When it moves its rotors to a horizontal position, it can fly fast and long distances like fixed wing aircraft. The rotors can also be used at an angle for the desired maneuver direction.

Let’s examine the Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey aircraft, one of the most popular tiltrotor models.

V-22 Osprey - tilt rotor aircraft
V-22 Osprey – source: aeroweb

In 1981, Bell teamed up with Boeing Helicopter to develop the V-22 Osprey, which was used by the US Air Force and Marine Corps. The V-22 performed missions such as troop or cargo transport, special operations, amphibious assaults, and search and rescue missions. It also flew at major airshows, including the famous Paris Air Show.

V-22 Osprey – Specifications

PropulsionTwo Rolls-Royce AE1107C, 6,150 shp (4,586 kW) each
LengthFuselage: 57.3 ft. (17.48.20 m); Stowed: 63.0 ft. (19.20 m)
WidthRotors turning: 84.6 ft. (25.78 m); Stowed: 18.4 ft. (5.61 m)
HeightNacelles vertical: 22.1 ft. (6.73 m); Stabilizer: 17.9 ft. (5.46 m)
Rotor Diameter38.1 ft (11.6 m)
Vertical Takeoff Max Gross Weight52,600 lbs. (23,859 kg)
Max Cruise Speed270 kts (500 km/h) SL
Mission Radius428 nm – MV-22 Blk C with 24 troops, ramp mounted weapon system, SL STD, 20 min loiter time
Cockpit – crew seats2 MV / 3 CV

Italian aerospace company Leonardo and their AW609.

V-22 Osprey - tilt rotor aircraft
AW609 – source: leonardo

They say that, The AW609 is a tilt rotor and it answers the need for an aircraft with the speed, range and altitude of a fixed-wing turboprop airplane and the vertical take-off and landing versatility of a helicopter. This revolutionary combination, along with the comfort of a pressurised cabin in which you can fly above bad weather, makes the AW609 an unrivalled asset.”

AW609 Specifications

MAX GROSS WEIGHT – 8 tonne class 18,000 lb class

USEFUL LOAD – over 2,721 kg/over 6,000 lbs

POWERPLANT – 2x Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6C-67A

LENGTH – 14.1 m (46 ft)*

HEIGHT VTOL MODE – 5.1 m (16 ft 9 in)*

WIDTH – 18.3 m (60 ft)*

CAPACITY – Crew: 2; Passenger 9 standard or – 12 high density (government use)

MAX CRUISE SPEED – 510 km/h 275 ktas

HIGE (ISA) – 3,048 m 10,000 ft

HOGE (ISA) – 1,828 m 6,000 ft

MAX RANGE – 1,389/1,852 km 700/1,000 nm *with aux. fuel

SERVICE CEILING (ISA) – 7,620 m 25,000 ft

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