Bell Helicopter created a stir as it unveiled its FCX concept at the Heli-Expo 2017 in Dallas, Texas on March 7th. The futuristic helicopter is the American company’s first concept aircraft and presents a “3-D roadmap” for more efficient helicopter solutions.
During a pre-show unveiling, Bell Helicopter’s President and CEO, Mitch Snyder, told journalists the FCX was inspired by the concept cars produced by automobile manufacturers for major automobile shows. The new design is the fruit of six months’ labour by a new dedicated team, made up of engineers and graphic designers, created to focus on emerging technologies and how to incorporate them into its products. It was through this process that the FCX, a concept aircraft, came to light to physically demonstrate a new way of thinking.
The aircraft appeared in the shape of a full-scale mockup and in virtual reality through the use of immersive headsets. Innovative elements in the FCX’s design include a fan-driven anti-torque system in the tail boom, hybridized propulsion, morphing main rotor blade tips, an extensive use of glass in the fuselage, gull-wing doors, and an entirely new flight deck experience with the pilot using augmented reality in the cockpit to control the aircraft. The helicopter also incorporates a highly modular 8-seat passenger cabin, enhanced with the same augmented reality technology for individual infotainment.
“The FCX points the way for our future – a renewed focus on innovative solutions and technologies. When the time is right we look forward to sharing more of what we’re doing behind closed doors,” added Snyder.