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Is 'Airwolf' possible with our current technology? (Supersonic Helicopter)

  1. Jun 9, 2016 #1
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    Airwolf (from the T.V show Airwolf) is a Mach 1+ helicopter capable of reaching speeds up to Mach 2. For it's time, it's weapons system was pretty farfetched (had fourteen weapons systems overall, including chaffe and flares) at it's time.

    I'm well aware of the limits of regular helicopters' speed limits, due to their blades being able to only take so much resistance before breaking off. Under normal circumstances, this would make a Mach 1+ helicopter like Airwolf laughable at best. HOWEVER, it is suggested that Airwolf actually TURNS OFF it's rotors before entering this 'turbo' mode. Given that the rotors don't immediately stop moving, would this help make Airwolf more feasible?
     
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  3. Jun 9, 2016 #2

    CWatters

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    I suppose if you could turn off the rotor, fold and stow the blades you might make something work. You would need to add wings, a horizontal tail and a source of forward thrust as their functions are all provided by the rotor on a helicopter.

    Funny things happen when your aircraft goes supersonic, look at all the stability issues they had in the early days of supersonic flight. I suspect that by the time you have overcome all the problem the resulting airframe won't look much like a helicopter any more.

    There have been numerous attempts to make aircraft that transition from vertical take off to horizontal flight and all have their own problems and solutions...

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tiltrotor
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tiltwing
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Convertiplane
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tail-sitter
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ryan_XV-5_Vertifan
     
  4. Jun 9, 2016 #3
    Well, the best we could possibly do for it would make it a rudimentary plane with very little surface control. It'd be functional; just wouldn't be as effective at dogfighting as planes would be. So, then the problem would be that we need to fill the time gap between folding the helicopter blades (it isn't going to be speedy-- the faster the rotors need to be, the bigger it also needs to get compensatingly so) with something to counter-act gravity with. I estimate that there may be three or four minutes of getting the rotors to cease rotation, and then another minute to fold it inwards. Perhaps less.
     
  5. Jun 9, 2016 #4
    I don't see the need for Mach 2 helicopter even if it were possible.
     
  6. Jun 9, 2016 #5
    Hey, why not? It'd probably be able to outmaneuver, outfly and outgun most other things in the air. I imagine it'd be great for making speedy deliveries (for civilian use), and would be one step forward in the direction of 'future' transportation methods if it were made readily accessible to the everyday lowman.
     
  7. Jun 9, 2016 #6

    Baluncore

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    I doubt the sonic transitions could be done in horizontal flight because of rotor disc balance and fuselage stability.

    To go supersonic, gain sufficient height, reduce power, increase rotor pitch and tail down to stop rotation. Then start to fall, now nose first, back-flipped? As speed increases furl the rotors behind a raised heat shield. Use thrust motor plus free-fall to go supersonic. Avoid hitting the ground.

    To recover from supersonic mode, enter a steep vertical loop without power. In a stall at the top, unfurl the rotor blades and return to helicopter mode through auto-rotation.
     
  8. Jun 11, 2016 #7

    OCR

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    The blades breaking off, is not really the problem...

    Helicopter top speed is limited by retreating blade stall...
    Also, take a look at dissymmetry of lift...

    http://avstop.com/ac/basichelicopterhandbook/ch2.html#15
    http://avstop.com/ac/basichelicopterhandbook/index.html
     
  9. Jun 29, 2016 #8
    Right. I suppose my dreams of flying a replica of Airwolf at mach 1+ is nothing but a pipedream. Thanks though! I learned alot from this.
     
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