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Basic Helicopter Aerodynamics, 3rd Edition by Simon Newman, John M. Seddon

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Chapter 9

A Personal Look at the Future

Somebody once referred to the future thus:

There is no future – it is just the past repeating itself!

In some ways this could be applied to the evolution of rotary-wing aircraft. The tilt wing, tilt rotor, compound and stopped rotor configurations have all come and gone and come again. In some particular instances a configuration is adopted by a manufacturer who has pursued it with a continuous programme of research and development. There will be many reasons why these things happen, but the learning process must play a part. Technologies, such as electronics and computing power, allied to a constantly improving set of methods open doors previously closed to the helicopter designer/engineer. These opening doors will encourage the revisiting of the various configurations which in most cases are devoted to ways of getting past the aerodynamic speed limit of the conventional main rotor system.

Any comments on the future have to express opinions particular to the author. I do not intend to cause upset and, particularly, do not wish to tread on any sensitive toes. If, however, I provoke argument – then that is healthy. You may think me wrong, but I hope you acknowledge that my comments are expressed with the best will in the world.

What follows is the result of consulting several papers [1–3] written on areas defining where rotary-wing development can be considered.

The experience of the 1982 Falkland Islands conflict showed a level of rotary-wing ...

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