Aircraft

Airbus announces X6 heavy-lift helicopter concept at Paris Airshow

Airbus announces X6 heavy-lift...
A rendering of one possible design for the X6
A rendering of one possible design for the X6
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A rendering of one possible design for the X6
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A rendering of one possible design for the X6

Airbus Helicopters has just announced the launch of the concept phase of its planned X6 heavy-lift helicopter. Over the next two years, the company will be seeking input from corporate customers and evaluating different designs. Possible applications for the aircraft could include oil and gas missions, or search and rescue operations.

The twin-engine X6 will be the latest member of Airbus' H family, which already includes the recently-announced H160 medium-lift helicopter. Sharing some features with that aircraft, it will also incorporate a full de-icing system for all-weather use, along with a fly-by-wire flight control system.

Once the concept phase is over, the X6 will enter its development phase. The finished aircraft is expected to be available sometime in the 2020s.

Source: Airbus Helicopters

10 comments
Derek Howe
That's a cool looking helicopter and all, but I think all new Helo's should have coaxial rotors, and no tail rotors. Because it's better in every way.
owlbeyou
Yo Derek, if coaxial rotors were proven to be superior, than why aren't they being used across the industry? Besides complexity, is there a disadvantage to having one rotor on top of another? Maybe.
jerryd
Especially for a heavy lift, 2 rotors, coaxial or otherwise, are far better for lift, stability. 20% more lift, range, etc is just too much to leave on the table. But then they are using ducted fans on their EV plane trainer cutting range 50% vs larger props that cost less too. And they built the A380, unlikely to ever make a profit. Airbus needs to get their act together. In the air only what works best matters. And a single rotor system is outdated in so many ways.
Jay Finke
@ owlbeyou Yes. I think they wanted something faithful, that's why they went with a single main rotor, the counter rotating rotor design is just nuts, fine for a boat outdrive , but way too much gearing to be in a heli, Unless you have a death wish, or abundant amounts of money for upkeep. Has anyone seen one, deadstick or auto rotate for a landing ?
Brooke
Hi:
I live in a jungle and in the summer often hear Huey helicopters and Fire fighting bombers flying overhead to fight forest fires. My house is between the airport and a lake so it's not uncommon to see a Huey getting water. http://www.prc68.com/I/Ukiah.shtml#Cal_Fire_Huey
Last month the sound was different and I got some photos of a new chopper getting water. http://www.prc68.com/I/Ukiah.shtml#Kaman_K-MAX The Kaman K-max can carry twice the payload as the Huey. It uses a counter rotating main blade, but the magic is in the disk loading. See the K-MAX patent on the link above. Maybe this new chopper is based on the K-MAX patent?
Have Fun, Brooke
StWils
As I recall, pretty much all coax choppers have maintenance issues because the bearings in the main rotor shaft turn at TWICE the speed of the rotors. Not insurmountable but still very pricey. The U.S. Chinook twin rotor is still flying because it is a proven reliable design. The Chinook flying today is very much improved from the original 1950s debutante design but still the original format. The Soviet Union probably built more coax choppers than anyone else but always had bearing wear issues.
Noel K Frothingham
As the article stated, this design is in its infancy, not ready to begin production. It is a design exercise, not the design upon which they are ready leverage their existence. As far as the A380's profitability goes, it's not the only aircraft they manufacture so it's also not gong to be the end of Airbus' existence.
rpark
...they probably ought to get the deployed A320's and A400's working right before building a new chopper:
http://www.bbc.com/news/live/32030778#!
http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-32810273
Jay Finke
Understanding how a heli works in the first place, is crucial in guessing which rotor system is best, dual rotors would freak you out if you seen how complex they are, I personally would never set foot in one. Ever done a pre flight, the walk around , before you light the fire ? on a jet ranger, long ranger, notar or the bell 47 ? I have, and it's a good feeling when you look at something that looks like a good design. NOT, look at all that linkage, hope nothing goes wrong. Thats a feeling my friends , I'm not at all interested in having, and don't want to be thinking about 500 feet in the air !
CrazyHelicopters
Amazing technology, I am from the old school, though.