January 11, 2011

Fort Worth Company Working On Chopper, SUV Hybrid

AVX Aircraft Company, a Fort Worth, Texas-based company, is working on technology that might make flying sports utility vehicles a reality, starting with innovative ideas in helicopters.

The AVX is a concept from Bell Helicopter executives with decades of experience in vertical flight that is to make helicopters more efficient, easier to pilot and be more affordable.

The company believes it has a cheap way to refurbish 330 U.S. Army OH-58D model helicopters and replace them with advanced helicopter technology.

"This is very unique," Troy Gaffey, president and chief engineer of AVX Aircraft Company, told Fort Worth's WFAA. "I don't think I've ever seen anything like that before."

The AVX chopper has two rotors for lift that rotate in different directions, a design that uses less power and makes the aircraft more stable.

The design also uses two pusher fans, which boost airspeed and altitude.

A conventional helicopter's rotor creates a spinning force, which makes it want to spin around.  To keep that from happening, there is a tail rotor that helps hold the aircraft in place.

Coaxial rotors eliminate the spinning, along with the need for a tail rotor.

The AVX design has two large fans that push the aircraft forward, in place of where the tail rotor would be.

"It's being flown more like a regular airplane than it is a helicopter," said AVX spokesman Frank King.

Ron Magnuson flew over Kabul, Afghanistan in an AVX simulator.  The AVX has more power without having to waste energy on a tail rotor.

"That means you can lift more weight, which is very, very significant," Magnuson explained to WFAA.

AVX will present its concept to the U.S. Army this month.


Image Caption: AVX has completed the preliminary design of the AVX TX, and has responded to the Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) seeking designs for a tactical fly-drive vehicle known as the Transformer (TX). The AVX TX is a four (4) person flyable/roadable vehicle that is capable of being manually driven on the ground like an SUV, and rapidly reconfigured between ground and flight configuration to a Vertical Takeoff and Landing (VTOL) flyable aircraft with first of its class medevac, resupply, manned and unmanned capabilities.


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