1996-10-01

Roadable Helicopter 965620

This is a progress report for the concept design for a roadable helicopter; i. e., a helicopter that can fold up its blades and drive off like a car. The study is funded by NASA's Langley Research Center, and is the result of a survey of the American helicopter industry two years ago to determine if there was any interest by those companies to study this concept which has the added features of a fully automatic stability / control / navigation system for complete hands-off flight, could be built at a rate of at least 500,000 units per year, and would sell for a price equivalent to a then-year luxury automobile. The unanimous response was that this would be a fantastically attractive engineering project, could undoubtedly be made to work, but reaching the suggested production rate and cost would be a substantial challenge. McDonnell Douglas Helicopter Systems (MDHS) agreed to look into the matter, and this paper describes where we were about three months into the study.

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