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Aerospace/Aviation/Aeroplane + Helicopter Integrated Electro Mechanical Machine


QUESTION: Dear David‎‎

Is it possible to design and manufacture / construct a Integrated
ircraft which can work both as a Aeroplane as well as a Helicopter ?. The machine will have wings as well as rotors. The Pilot will be able to fly either as a Aeroplane as well as a Helicopter.

i.e. The Operations features of both the machines viz AAeroplane and Helicopter will be integrated in a single machine.

1. If possible will it be  complex machine to deign & manufacture ?.
2. Will there will be benefit if both the operation features ar integrate in a single machine ?.

Awaiting your reply,

Thanks & Regards,
Prashant S Akerkar

ANSWER: Dear Prashant:

Thank you for your question about an "integrated aircraft" that can work both as an aeroplane as well as a helicopter.

To answer your question, look up the Bell-Boeing V-22 "Osprey" which is also called a "tiltrotor" aircraft (it can fly as you describe, with the characteristics of a helicopter and an aircraft).  The V-22 is flown by the U. S. Marine Corps.

There is also a civil version of the tiltrotor being built by AgustaWestland, called the AW 609.  This aircraft is based on the Bell-Boeing V-22.

I hope that this helps you with your question.


David A. NewMyer

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Dear David

Thank you.

1. Will Commercial Air carriers like British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Lufthansa, Qatar Airways, Air India, Singapore Airlines etc will employ these Aircraft + Helicopter Dual Model i.e. Integrated Single Machine for Passengers travelling Overseas as well as Domestic / Local ?.

In case not, Where these Aircraft Model will be Useful for Flight Operations ?.

2. The Aircraft Pilot in this model can start the Aircraft i.e. during flight takeoff can work only with one operations mode viz Airplane OR Helicopter. If Airplane Mode is selected, Wings will be adapted or if Helicopter mode is selected Rotors will be adapted for flight operations.

During Landing the Airplane or Helicopter will use the standard mode as
per the selected Model during takeoff.

Is this correct ?.

Awaiting your reply,

Thanks & Regards,
Prashant S Akerkar

ANSWER: Dear Prashant:

Thank you for your follow up questions regarding "tiltrotor aircraft" technology and how it might be used in the future.

Here is my response to each of your questions:

I.  Will this technology be used by larger airlines such as Singapore Airlines, or Air India for either international or local travel?

A.  Regarding International travel:  The current technology available would not support long-range, international airline travel.  The AW609, for example, has an 800 to 900 nautical mile range.  This is VERY short for international travel.  In addition, the AW609 is a very small aircraft, built to carry perhaps 9 to 10 passengers.

B.  Regarding local or regional travel:   The AW609 is certainly more suited to short range travel, however, its size (9 to 10 passengers) is still very limiting with regard to airline use considering the smallest Airbus (the A-318) is built for the 100 seat market and can fly over 2000 nautical miles.

With regard to where the AW609 CAN be used:

1).  Corporate or business aircraft operations where both speed and the ability to operate into "tight" operating circumstances (landing in small spaces) are needed.

2).  Small airline applications, again, where operating into very tight locations is needed and where smaller loads (9 to 10 passengers) will serve the market.

3).  Where helicopters are currently used but a larger passenger capacity is needed.

II.  Because of the current tiltrotor design, the HELICOPTER MODE is used for landing and take off due to the clearance required for the rotors (propellors).   Once the tiltrotor takes off, it transitions to "AIRCRAFT MODE" and uses the standard wing technology to fly straight and level at relatively high enroute speeds (compared to most helicopters).  This ability to transition to aircraft mode gives the tiltrotor major speed advantages over helicopters on the same routes.

I hope that this answer helps.  If you look up the V-22 and/or the AW609, those sources can provide you with additional information on the advantages of this technology.

Best wishes to you,

David A. NewMyer

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Dear David

Thank you.

As you mentioned "The usual mission of the V-22 is to take off in helicopter mode, transition to aircraft mode (forward flight), arrive at scene and reverse the operation and land vertically".

If the Other Aircraft mode is selected i.e. "Airplane" during flight takeoff operations then as usual the commercial aircraft runs on the runaway to take off then could it be useful ?. Can it be designed to start
also in "Airplane" as well as "Helicopter" mode ?.

Once the flight has taken off, during flight operations the Aircraft should also have the capability to Stop in the air (The Helicopter allow this functionality unlike Airplane) for few minutes to hours.

While descending/landing it will descend as usual as a Commercial Aircraft.

If you select the Helicopter Mode during flight takeoff it should work as usual as it was working before as you mentioned.

So this aircraft can be useful for both Military as well as Commercial
Airplanes. Isn't it ?.

The cost of manufacturing those Dual Mode Designed aircraft/s will be expensive ?.

Awaiting your reply,

Thanks & Regards,
Prashant S Akerkar

Dear Prashant:

Thank you for your follow up question!  Note that it is impossible to utilize the "Aircraft Mode" for take off with the current V-22 Tiltrotor because the diameter of the rotor blades is too large.  That is, the rotor blades are so large that there is no way to tilt them all the way forward for takeoff.   So, the "Helicopter Mode" must be used for take off.  The value of the Tiltrotor is to get into tight places where an aircraft can not land.  And, the other value is that, by using the "Aircraft Mode" for en-route flying, the V-22 Tiltrotor can fly very fast (faster than a helicopter can fly in horizontal flight).  Finally, the V-22 also has excellent range characteristics---that is, it can fly farther than the typical standard helicopter.

The problem for the V-22 or its commercial variant (the AW609) is that the size of the vehicle is not really very large--you can not carry that many people or very much cargo-- AND it has some very expensive operating and maintenance costs.  It might have some limited commercial applications, but the high cost of operation combined with the small size of the currently available tiltrotor aircraft, will make this a limited commercial venture for now.

As far as the cost of manufacture, I am not exactly sure.  You can look up the publicly available cost estimates for the V-22 via the U. S. Department of Defense budget to see what the cost per aircraft is.....but, because it is a unique aircraft that no one else is really building right now, it has got to be expensive.

I hope that this helps you,

Dave NewMyer  


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David A. NewMyer


I can answer questions about aviation industry employment, airports and airport planning and aviation industry regulation (overall regulation of the industry--who regulates what and why).


I have worked in aviation since the late 1960s, primarily in airports, airport planning and in aviation education. I have done major research in aviation employment and in graduate education in aviation.

University Aviation Association since 1982 (President, 2009-2010)

Collegiate Aviation Review Journal of Aviation/Aerospace Education and Research Journal of Air Transportation ATEA Journal SIU Press

B. S. in History and Government, University of Redlands, California, 1969 M. A. in Political Science (Metropolitan Studies), Drew University, Madison, New Jersey, 1971 M. S. in Transportation, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois, 1974 Ph.D. in Education (Education Aministration and Higher Education), Southern Illinois University Carbonale, 1987

Awards and Honors
United Airlines William Wheatley Award from the University Aviation Association, 1994 for excellence in Post Secondary Aviation Education Sorensen Award for Excellence in Research, University Aviation Association, 2008

Past/Present Clients
Prepared airport master plan and environmental assessment reports for several Illinois Airports; prepared two separate airport systems plans for the Chicago area

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