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Both Helicopter AND Plane?! Breaking down V-22 Osprey | Airplane Anatomy Ep. 6


hey guys welcome back to airplane Anatomy a series where I break down different airplanes from their history to their engineering to how they fly so today in episode 6 we're going to be talking about an airplane that is both a helicopter and a fixed-wing airplane also known as a tilt rotor craft and that is the bell Boeing v-22 Osprey so the V-22 was actually the first operational aircraft that was able to both take off vertically like a helicopter with its rotors in the upright position Then once in level flight those rotors can actually tilt forward 90 degrees in order to become propellers for the speed and the range of a conventional aircraft so what were the brilliant designs behind the v-22 that allowed it to do this? Let's get started during the late 70s there was an alarming weakness in the u

s fleet of military helicopters and that was their limited range and this was especially highlighted by a failed mission during the Iran hostage crisis in 1980 so at the time 52 US diplomats and citizens were being held hostage at the US Embassy located in the capital of Iran, Tehran, by Iranian Revolution supporters The us decided to conduct a mission to rescue these hostages by the us

special forces nicknamed Operation Eagle Claw the helicopters used to conduct this mission was called the Sikorsky ch-53 sea stallions and they were supposed to fly from the carrier on the Persian Gulf to Tehran However at the time the Sikorsky's actually lacked the range to complete that trip in one go and instead had to stop midway for refueling on a secret airstrip on the Iranian desert by a c-130 Hercules aircraft Now this was incredibly dangerous as the mission took place overnight so already they have very limited visibility and on top of that you have helicopter rotors mixed with sand in the deserts which is not a good combination for good visibility so during refueling of the mission disaster struck as one of the helicopters collided with the c-130 resulting in the loss of eight lives and also the mission being aborted and as a result of this failed operation the hostages were spread out around the country making any further recovery even more difficult so it was clear from this operation that the us needed a more powerful aircraft in their feats specifically they wanted an aircraft with the agility of a helicopter but also the range in the speed of a conventional airplane now this is where Bell and Boeing decided to partner up and came up with a design for a tilted rotor craft essentially creating the best of both worlds so in 1983 development on the v-22 Osprey began now the concept of its hilts rotorcraft was not new at the time since there had already been experimental designs going as far back as the 50's however no aircrafts were ever produced so in the very first few iterations of the v-22 the engine was actually placed within the fuselage and connected to the two rotors at the tip of each wing through a very long drive shaft that would essentially control the rotation of the rotors as well as deliver power to them however such a large amount of power ended up going through these transmission lines that they became heavy and bulky so in future iterations engineers decided to place the engines with the rotors at the tip of each wing and connect the two engines through a transmission line so that in case of an engine failure the other remaining engine would so be able to deliver power to both rotors of course with the aircraft operating on only one engine it loses some of its capabilities as well for example it's not able to hover as a helicopter and testing has shown that should both engines fail on the v-22 that an auto rotation recovery would be very difficult now many of you may know that for a conventional airplane should all of its engines fail it's still actually able to stay in the air for some time as opposed to falling out of the skies immediately that is by gliding that is essentially how captain Sully ended up landing his plane in Miracle on the Hudson now this is because some lift is still being generated by the forward momentum of the plane so there is actually a very similar phenomenon happening when helicopters lose their engines as well that is called an auto rotation now we won't go too deep into the physics of auto rotations today because we're gonna save that rabbit hole for a future video however we know that auto rotations are possible on the v-22 when it is travelling below its stall speed of 110 knots however it is much more dangerous to perform an auto rotation on the v-22 compared to conventional helicopters for example the FAA suggests that helicopter pilots enter into auto rotation between the heights of 500 to 700 feet but testing has shown that on the v-22 if you enter into an auto rotation below height of 1,600 feet that it is likely not survivable now the v-22 is not only a helicopter as well as a fixed-wing aircraft it can actually transform itself into compact form for stowage and no I'm not just saying storage wrong the rotors can actually fold inwards and the wings can rotate themselves to align with a fuselage into its compact form and this is all done automatically within 90 seconds now the v-22 is really the Transformers of the skies I think the only feature that it's missing is the ability to turn into a Lego brick so that they can be stacked on top of each other another interesting design of the plane's rotors is that in order for the planes to fit on the deck of carrier ships the rotors are actually slightly shorter than what is optimal for a vertical takeoff and on top of that the rotors themselves are slightly twisted more than they would be on conventional helicopters and that is because they also need to act as propellers pulling in air when the plane is in fixed-wing mode now both of those factors combined to increase the ratio between the weight of the aircraft in the area of its rotors this is something called disc loading now we use disk loading to measure the efficiency of an aircraft to hover so for example surfaces with low disk loading are usually called rotors such as on helicopters and surfaces with high disk loading are called propellers for example on fixed-wing aircraft now the v-22 is designed to fall in the middle of that disk loading spectrum so that it actually has high disk loading in helicopter mode and low disk loading in fixed-wing mode and that is what enables it to function somewhat efficiently in either mode now the development of the v-22 faced an uphill battle basically from the day it started with multiple threats of the entire program being canceled over budget cuts or politics or just people having doubts on the reliability of the plane in general and unfortunately there was also a series of high-profile crashes of the v-22 that led to more extensive delays so for example the very first test flight of the v-22 actually resulted in the pilot blacking out from intense vibrations in the cockpits in the 2000s there was another crash involving a pilot error as well as a very rapid descent rate of the v-22 that actually led to the entire fleet being grounded and the program being put on pause however the silver linings to these accidents was that they led to extensive redesigns and crew training programs that made the plane a lot safer to fly today however they did be to multiple delays of the program but regardless in 2007 almost 25 years after its initial developments the v-22 was put into operational service today there are over 375 v-22s in service with the US Air Force Marine Corps and Navy where it conducts a wide range of difference from humanitarian relief to improve transport to offensive combat missions now it's able to carry a crew of four people and up to 24 personnel and it was able to meet its original design goal of being able to fly faster and further than its predecessor the ch-53 however in order to accomplish this it does have limited payload capacity with only about a third of the capacity of the ch-53 and v20 tubes are still in production today although it does have slightly more competition as more airplanes have been designed for vertical takeoff for example the f-35 Lightning tubes although to be fair the jet is designed for a slightly different purpose than the v-22 now there has even been development of a civilian version of the v-22 called the aw609 that may appeal to the growing demand of air taxi services now imagine be able to go from downtown Toronto to downtown New York in a matter of two hours or being able to skip the traffic in all a going from one end to the other now there has even been news of uber partnering up with a company called Joby aviation in order to create an air taxi that is likely very similar to the v-22 in its design and this is rumored to go live around 2023 hey thanks so much for making it to the very end of my youtube video and also taking that first step into the world of helicopters with me today because I've never talked about it on my channel before and I think also by doing research for this video it reminded me of how fun it is to learn the basics of aerodynamics like how planes work and how helicopters fly and what our auto rotations and I think they would be really some great content for upcoming videos so make sure you're subscribed to this channel to catch those videos this they come out and as always don't forget to leave a like for the YouTube algorithm if you enjoy this video and I will see you soon you

Source: Youtube

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