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3 comments

Heavy Lift Helicopters

Posted March 31, 2010 12:00 AM by moorec74

In my last blog entry, I described my work with a team of RPI undergraduates who are competing in "Lift! More LIFT!", this year's Request for Proposal (RFP) from the American Helicopter Society (AHS). The foundation of our team's design must be a helicopter that is currently in service. The existing design is then modified by the team so that two of the aircraft, when flying together, can lift significantly more payload than either could alone.

The beginning of our team's design process focused upon which helicopter to select as the basis for the design. Our selection will affect every aspect of this project – the load bearing mechanism, engine and transmission requirements, rotor blade modifications, and the flight configuration of the two helicopters.

We researched several designs, but two helicopters stood out from the rest: Boeing's CH-47 Chinook and the Russian MI-26 HALO. Because I found this information to be of interest (as I had with the Black Hawk), I thought I would share my research with CR4.

CH-47 Chinook

Boeing's tandem-style cargo helicopter has been in production since 1962 and continues to serve the United States Army to this day. After seeing service in Vietnam, the CH-47 Chinook was flown in the Iran-Iraq War (1980 – 1988) and the Falklands War (1982). Most recently, the aircraft has been used in Iraq and Afghanistan. Japan uses the CH-47 as an asset for its ground forces. Royalty from the Netherlands often travel via a Chinook.

The CH-47 Chinook requires a crew of three and is quite large – almost 100 feet long with rotors that have a diameter of 60 feet. The structure alone weighs over 23,000 pounds, but can take off up to a weight of 50,000 pounds. It can carry about 50 troops or 28,000 pounds of cargo. Although this helicopter can reach speeds of up to 170 knots, the CH-47 usually cruises around 130 knots. It can travel a distance of 400 nautical miles, with a service ceiling of 18,500 feet. And yet, the Chinook does carry machine guns for protection.

MI-26 HALO

If you thought the Chinook was large, think again. The heavy-lift helicopter that the Russians use can carry the Chinook and make it look as light as a feather (in fact, it has even rescued a Chinook). The MI-26 HALO was introduced in 1983 and to this day remains the largest, most powerful helicopter ever produced. The Ukranian and Indian Air Forces became so fond of this aircraft that they, too, have adopted the design.

The MI-26 Halo features a single-main-rotor-tail-rotor (SMRTR) design. While requiring a crew of six may seem like a lot, understand what this beast of a vehicle is capable of - carrying 80 troops or 44,000 pounds of cargo. Of course, the helicopter's size may offer a downside, considering that its rotors span more than 100 feet across.

The AHS Request for Proposal

So which heavy lift helicopter has the RPI team decided to fly with? I'll leave you in suspense for a few more weeks. Regardless, it's phenomenal what these two very different aircraft vehicles are capable of achieving.

Resources:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CH-47_Chinook

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mi-26_Halo

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Guru
Hobbies - Musician - Engineering Fields - Chemical Engineering - New Member Engineering Fields - Control Engineering - New Member Engineering Fields - Instrumentation Engineering - New Member

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Good Answers: 101
#1

Re: Heavy Lift Helicopters

03/31/2010 10:19 PM

RPI?

Damn those acronyms!

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"I am enough of an artist to draw freely upon my imagination. Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world." -- Albert Einstein
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Guru
United States - Member - New Member Engineering Fields - Electrical Engineering - New Member

Join Date: Jul 2008
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#2
In reply to #1

Re: Heavy Lift Helicopters

03/31/2010 10:55 PM
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Guru
Hobbies - Musician - Engineering Fields - Chemical Engineering - New Member Engineering Fields - Control Engineering - New Member Engineering Fields - Instrumentation Engineering - New Member

Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Kennewick, WA, USA, Thulcandra - The Silent Planet (C.S. Lewis)
Posts: 2817
Good Answers: 101
#3
In reply to #2

Re: Heavy Lift Helicopters

03/31/2010 11:13 PM

Thanks Jaxy!

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"I am enough of an artist to draw freely upon my imagination. Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world." -- Albert Einstein
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