Bell Helicopter president Mitch Snyder today called the new FCX-001 concept a “vision of the future” when he pulled back the curtains to show off the mockup at Heli-Expo in Dallas.Bell Helicopter’s first concept aircraft FCX-001 is designed by group of core engineers and a team of dynamic graphic designers to develop a 3-D roadmap for delivering safer, smarter and more efficient rotorcraft solutions, the company said in a news release.
As it is also not confirmed that it will go into production or even a flight test in near future. Future Concept Helicopter features several technological advances and a way to demonstrate a new way of thinking.Bell Helicopter formed a core group of engineers and a team of graphic designers to develop the FCX-001, a concept aircraft as a way to demonstrate a new way of thinking. Bell has taken a initiative to transform the growing demands of helicopters clients and also to showcase their vision to demonstrate new technologies that can be implemented in rotocraft industry.
FCX-001 has a new anti-torque system in the tail boom designed to change the safety, noise and performance parameters of vertical lift aircraft. The futuristic FCX-001 will have five main patented rotor blades driven by electric motors for quieter and smoother operations. There is no tail rotor. Bell has applied for a patent on the design. A Hybridized propulsion combines advanced thermal engine cores for the main propulsion with, for example, electric distribution and motors to drive the anti-torque system for more control and simpler vehicle operations and maintenance.
FCX-001 has an sleek new design similar to a X-plane with a single pilot in the center of the cockpit. The pilot is built with an “augmented reality” system tied together with an artificial intelligence computer similar to those in use aboard the F-35 fighter.
“Let the computers do the dumb, dirty and dull. We are talking about an aircraft that’s controlled through augmented reality.”
In a further twist, the cockpit is configured for only single-pilot operation, with a centrally mounted seat. The concept is about pushing both the industry and Bell to “take it to a new level” and about imagining the future 15-20 years away. “Unless we are putting our money into it now, it won’t be ready then,” he notes.
FCX was born from an innovation team set up by Snyder about 12 months ago with the express intention of breaking down barriers between the occasionally opposed design and engineering departments. Drennan says his team’s mission is to “explore, experiment and exploit”. “Let’s explore the physics of the technology out there, let’s experiment with them and let’s exploit them,” he says.
“Being a pioneer in the aircraft industry is in our DNA and we want to share this renewed passion with the world,” said Snyder. “The FCX-001 points the way for our future – a renewed focus on innovative solutions and technologies. When the time is right we look forward to sharing more of what we’re doing behind closed doors.”