Monday, November 19, 2012

First VTOL Airplane — Bell XV-3

First VTOL Airplane — Bell XV-3:
First VTOL Airplane — Bell XV-3

Cockpit of the Bell Helicopter Textron XV-3 which was the first VTOL aircraft to fly both vertcally and horizontally — photo by Joseph May
The promise of an aircraft which had the benefits of both a helicopter and an fast airplane was researched in a joint U.S. Air Force–U.S. Army effort through the Bell Helicopter Textron company. Bell produced two of the XV-3 in 1955 — the world’s first VTOL (Vertical Take Off and Landing) airplane. The XV-3 opened the dimension of VTOL flight to the world on 19 December 1958 when it became the first aircraft to vertically take off and convert to horizontal flight.
The XV-3 is a twin tilt-rotor design which flew as fast as 184 mph/294.4kph with the ability to hover as well as take-off and land vertically. Though not developing beyond testing the XV-3 clearly is the ancestor of the Bell Boeing CV-22 Osprey — note that Bell is still in the mix almost six decades later. The XV-3 flew for ten years and has been exhibited in at least two museums. The first airplane to fly as a VTOL is now exhibited in the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force.

The right side tilt-rotor, note the slot enabling the proprotor to swivel forward so the XV-3 would fly as a conventional aircraft — photo by Joseph May
More information and additional photos can be found on this fact sheet from the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force.

No comments:

Post a Comment