Posts Tagged ‘helicopter’

Land Rover debuts technology aimed for cars that’s meant for aviation

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014

The name Land Rover is synonymous in the automotive world with luxury utility. It’s the ultimate SUV for the aristocracy, whether officially recognized as such or just self appointed. It’s never been considered the most innovate, or even the most reliable brand. A recent announcement may change that. The company is developing a forward-looking camera system that creates the illusion of a see-through hood. The off-road applications are obvious when you think of the large rocks, gullies, and other obstructions these vehicles are meant to handle. But where a technology like this has real promise is aviation.

Describing the technology doesn’t do it justice. Watch the video below and the use in aviation becomes immediately obvious. 

It’s a bit of a misnomer, but what’s most impressive about the see-through hood is that you can still see the hood. Having a full view of everything in front of you would be useful, but it’s invaluable to know where the machine is in space. Imagine what this would mean in an aircraft. Judging the flare would be a non-event. Those nose-high full-stall landings would be easy and routine. Forget all that talk about how far down the runway to look. All the pilot would have to do is look out the front, through the cowling and to the runway stripes below. Or maybe off to the side a bit, through the door and tire until it touches the pavement. Even a helicopter, with its characteristically great view angles, would benefit from a system like this. The ability to look below and slightly ahead would be great in an off-airport landing, or even a normal touch down on pavement.

There’s only one problem with all this–it’s unlikely to ever happen. Given aviation’s glacial pace of innovation and strict regulatory environment, the hurdles are large. Which is unfortunate because Land Rover has proven that technologically it’s all within our reach.

Human-powered helo pedals towards goal

Wednesday, June 20th, 2012

University of Maryland pilot Colin Gore pedals and cranks for history

UPDATE: Gamera hovered for 50 seconds before flying tests ended.

The kids at the University of Maryland’s A. James Clark School of Engineering have done it again, hovering a human-powered helicopter powered by a male cyclist for 35 seconds. To win the American Helicopter Society Igor I. Sikorsky Human-Powered Helicopter Competition (why must everything have three names?) they must hover a full minute, achieve a height of three meters at some point during the minute, and stay within a 10-square-meter area during the flight. Do that, and a school could win $250,000. Pilot and pedaler Colin Gore achieved an important second step on June 20 by staying aloft 35 seconds. Here’s a YouTube video of the event. They call the helicopter Gamera after a monster frog from a Japanese sic-fi film. Here’s the turtle’s home page. The university’s Judy Wexler took the first step last summer when she pedaled into the record books by the first and longest flight (11.4 seconds) for a woman.

Helicopter model goes berserk

Friday, May 28th, 2010

Actually, the four-rotor helicopter in this video was tightly controlled by a computer. I just wanted to get your attention. Some University of Pennsylvania students have been having too much fun. The computer programs the motions needed to jump through windows, or slam into a Velcroed target. Notice the developers have placed strong netting between themselves and their invention.