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Airbus has revolutionised the helicopter



Attendees at the latest Paris Air Show were left in no doubt of Airbus’ ambitions to revolutionise the helicopter with their ‘Racer’ concept (standing for Rapid And Cost-Effective Rotorcraft).
The Airbus Racer offers a radically different approach to traditional rotary aircraft
Image via Airbus

Airbus claim that Racer will be able to reach a cruise speed of more than 400km/h whilst also being optimised to achieve the best possible combination of speed, cost-efficiency, and sustainability.

Guillaume Faury, CEO of Airbus Helicopters, unveiled the Racer saying: 

“Today we unveil our bold vision for the future of high-speed rotorcraft. This new project, pulling together the skills and know-how of dozens of European partners through the Clean Sky 2 initiative, aims to bring increased speed and range at the right cost, thanks to a simple, safe and proven aerodynamic formula. It will pave the way for new time-sensitive services for 2030 and beyond, setting new benchmarks for high-speed helicopter transportation.”

The ‘aerodynamic formula’ mentioned by Faury represents a fundamental change in the way that helicopters are propelled and kept aloft.
The Airbus Racer will be equipped with two forward-facing propellers placed at the end of short forward angled wings
Image via Airbus

The craft will be equipped with two forward-facing propellers placed at the end of short forward-angled wings that will sit on top of the aircraft cabin and underneath the main rotor. Their positioning will mean that they do not interfere with the rotation of the main rotor. Both the lateral rotors and the main rotor will be powered by two RTM322 engines. 

In order to keep weight to a minimum, and also reduce recurring costs, the Racer will feature a metallic-composite airframe.

The Airbus Racer will also feature an innovative ‘box-wing’ structure that brings several benefits including improved lift performance in forward flight. This unusual wing structure has been developed through ASTRAL (Advanced Wing Structure for Rotorcraft Additional Lift).

Airbus are initially targeting the Racer for use by “emergency medical services, search and rescue operations, as well as public services, commercial air transport and private and business aviation.”

The first flight of the Racer is expected to take place in 2020.
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Airbus has revolutionised the helicopter - Time to read 2 min
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