Bell Helicopter isn’t known for indulging in concept aircraft, but it’s dipped its toes in the concept waters for the first time with the FCX-001. Unveiled at Heli-Expo 2017 in Dallas, Texas, the rotorcraft concept features an airframe crafted from sustainable materials, a hybrid power system, an artificial intelligence co-pilot, and morphing rotor blades that change to suit different flight conditions.
“Six months ago we created a dedicated team to focus on emerging technologies and how we could incorporate them into our products.” Bell Helicopter’s President and CEO Mitch Snyder aid as Heli-Expo. “Among that team’s first tasks was to display visually the technologies and innovations that present a roadmap that we envision bringing to market.”
The result is a concept that features a number of innovations both inside and out. At the rear, the tail boom has an embedded anti-torque system to improve safety, reduce noise, and increase performance. The copter’s hybrid propulsion system sees advanced thermal engine cores handling main propulsion and feeding into the electric motors that power the anti-torque system for better control and simplifying maintenance.