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Pop-Out Wings for Helicopters

So they can glide to safety after rotor/blade problem
  (+7, -6)
(+7, -6)
  [vote for,

I don't know how much of a problem it is in real life, but in movies you always see helicopter blades being destroyed by missles, etc. and causing the copters to descend out-of-control and crash.

My idea is to have glider wings that can pop out from the side of the helicopter body so in case of an emergency, it can glide down to the ground and hopefully remain upright and float forward instead of doing the death-spiral we usually see.

I have no idea if this would actually prevent crashes, but I saw a small helicopter flying over my house today and a few minutes later, a small plane flew by, and I had a thought that this could work!

paix120, Sep 08 2009

Helicopter / Airplane jokes http://www.skygod.c...es/flyingjokes.html
[normzone, Sep 08 2009]

Plane / copter collision http://www.youtube....watch?v=5BUFWpxd3iE
[normzone, Sep 11 2009]

Wikipedia: Autorotation (helicopter) http://en.wikipedia...tation_(helicopter)
How helicopters can stay afloat (aglide?) if anything but their blades is damaged. [jutta, Sep 14 2009]


       Barring catastrophic rotor damage, most helicopters can land safely (not easily, but they can) without power.

In the case of catastrophic rotor damage, first, likely the airframe and hydraulics are badly damaged as well, including the hydraulics that pop out your glide wings. Second, the imbalance during the rotor destruction is likely to pitch the helicopter on its side or similar weird effects that won't make it real flyable.

Finally, normal helicopters do not have particularly good glide characteristics and frequently don't have a lot of forward speed in normal operation. A glide would only be possible during high speed flight, and the design of glider wings would be difficult for a helicopter body.

Generally not practical, maybe not possible.
MechE, Sep 08 2009

       I would give my left testicle, (if I were a man), for a bristolz drawing :-( of this. I think then it would get at least one bun. So I'm gonna give it one just for the hell of it.
blissmiss, Sep 08 2009

       Practicality being an option on the 'bakery, I'm going to advocate for the wings being installed in an airbag-like manner, so the hydraulics are irrelevant (+).
normzone, Sep 08 2009

       most helicopter 'crashes' are due to engine failure, and end rather benign in the helicopter autorotating to the ground. The few instances of disintegrating rotor (that are not due to something that would have killed the pilot anyways) would probably not be helped by glider's wings - as they are mostly due to the rotor hitting something because the 'copter is near the ground. All-around airbag would be more helpful in those instances
loonquawl, Sep 08 2009

       Anyone who essays air travel in a vehicle that is nothing more than a linear descendant of the common kitchen eggbeater deserves whatever they get.   

8th of 7, Sep 08 2009

       Yeah, yeah, aircraft humor...   

       "I never liked riding in helicopters because there's a fair probability that the bottom part will get going around as fast as the top part." (link)
normzone, Sep 08 2009

       Thanks for the support blissmiss and normzone!   

       I know it's not the most practical idea, but thinking of my little mini model helicopter, when the little piece that attaches to the flybar comes loose, the thing just plummets, and I can imagine little nylon wings at least slowing its descent, and possibly catching in the wind, gently gliding it down.   

       OK, so maybe I'm dreaming, but that's what this place is for, right?
paix120, Sep 11 2009

       And now I've experienced my first fishbone-rated idea... oh well.
paix120, Sep 11 2009

       Yeah, but you also have a two bun idea,
I dream of ideas of that sort of quality. Then I wake up and forget them all :(
kaz, Sep 11 2009

       its not over till the fat lady sings...   

       & the ideas that split the vote are usually the best, welcome to the madhouse.
po, Sep 11 2009

       I'll wager if you offered this pilot some airbag-style short wings, he would have said "it couldn't hurt" or something of the sort (link).
normzone, Sep 11 2009

       kaz, po, and normzone, thanks for the encouragement!   

       ...and back into non-fishbone territory - woo hoo!   

paix120, Sep 14 2009

       The problem is the helicopters intermittent lack of forward velocity. If the blade snaps or the Jesus bolt (my ALL TIME favorite part name) goes while in a hover, the wings will be near useless. If they fail during a time of significant forward motion, they better pop out with control surfaces and have controls for those surfaces pop-up in the cockpit, so sorry (-). On a similar note though I think you can get a rocket deployed parachute for a helicopter if you could figure out a way to mount it above the rotors (or blow the rotors off with the deploy, but that sounds dangerous to others.) Technically if you switched that parachute into a parawing, then this idea could work.
MisterQED, Sep 14 2009

       OR maybe fit a gi-normous airbag to the bottom.
Loris, Sep 14 2009

       The powered rotors are down and fixed, angled wings radiate out of the top. The copter's descent is theoretically slowed as it spins, just like those "helicopter" seeds.
jellydoughnut, Sep 14 2009

       Hm, interesting ideas, all.   

       And Jutta, autorotation is really cool if the rotor and blades are still in place during a malfunction.
paix120, Sep 15 2009

       dont some copters come with a pair of huge parachutes?   

       Hey maybe we can combine ideas. in case of emergency aim for all those inflatable home villages that were posted earlier, like big air bags for planes.
Arcanus, Mar 12 2010


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