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A convertiplane in popular usage is an aircraft that converts in flight to change its method of obtaining lift. The FAI define it more narrowly as an aircraft which uses rotor power for vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) and converts to fixed-wing lift in normal flight. This is the definition used here.
Types of convertiplane
A proprotor may be in a tilt rotor or tilt wing configuration in which case a fairly complicated tilt mechanism is required. An engine failure could be disastrous even in the case of twin rotor configuration, similarly to helicopters.
Convertiplanes have appeared only occasionally in the course of aviation history.
Between 1937 and 1939 the British designer L.E. Baynes developed a proposal for his Heliplane, a tiltrotor convertiplane having two tilting wingtip-mounted nacelles containing the engines, proprotor mounting and main undercarriage. The wheels did not retract but were partially covered and protruded from the rear of the nacelles when in forward flight. The proposed engines were of an unusual hybrid gas turbine design, in which the proprotor was driven off a gas turbine supplied in turn by a free-piston Pescara hot gas generator. Baynes was refused official backing and the type was never built. The basic design would not be revisited for some 20 years or so, and would eventually become the basis of the successful Bell-Boeing V-22 Osprey.
The Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey tiltrotor is possibly the only example to enter production. It entered service with the United States military in 2011. The design indirectly derives from Bell's work on the XV-3.
- Green, W., The Observer's world aircraft directory, Warne, 1961, Page 134.
- Engineers, Society of Automotive (1957). SAE transactions. pp. 150–151.
- Demperwolff, Richard F. (June 1954). "Here Come The Convertiplanes". Popular Mechanics (Hearst Magazines) 101 (6): pp. 118–123, 210. ISSN 0032-4558.
- Dictionary : V/STOL_Technology
- Gunston, W. and Batchelor, J.; Helicopters 1900-1960: Phoebus history of the world wars special, Phoebus, 1977.
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