Boeing A160 Hummingbird Has Whisper Mode

The Boeing A160 Hummingbird is a new drone helicopter able to operate autonomously for up to twenty-four hours. The A160 is thirty-five feet long with a thirty-six foot rotor diameter. The U.S. Special Forces Command is taking delivery of ten A160's this month.


(A160 Hummingbird drone helicopter)

It can fly at up to 140 knots at 30,000 feet, much higher than conventional helicopters can fly, even while carrying a three hundred pound payload. The A160 has a specially redesigned rotor blade:

To avoid vibration problems, the rotor blades are light and stiff, and their stiffness in flap, lag and torsion is progressively reduced from root to tip, so that the tips are more flexible than the root. This is made possible by the use of tailored carbon fiber construction. The A160 rotor is hingeless and rigid, and has a larger diameter and lower disc loading than a conventional helicopter rotor with the same maximum lift.

Its rotor can be slowed to as little as forty percent of its maximum RPM, operating between 150-350rpm with tip speeds as low as Mach 0.25. This makes it highly fuel efficient and very quiet; helicopter noise is closely linked to rotor speed.

This drone copter made me think of a purely fictional helicopter - Blue Thunder, from the 1983 movie of the same name. The movie was made from a screenplay written in 1979; I don't know if any real-world copters were used as the idea for whisper mode.


(Blue Thunder has whisper mode [1983])

Blue Thunder had a special "whisper mode", a special stealth feature that allowed the copter to hover or move slowly with very little noise.

Boeing's A160 Hummingbird is specifically designed for quiet surveillance; the fictional Blue Thunder helicopter also had special surveillance capabilities. I'm guessing that if the A160 is used in the United States, people may have some the the same misgivings toward the A160 that Frank Murphy (Roy Scheider) had toward Blue Thunder being used for civilian police functions.

Read more at Special Forces Get Stealth Robocopter and an earlier, technical article - Tomorrow's aircraft are poised to break all the rules.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 11/24/2008)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 1 )

Related News Stories - (" Surveillance ")

China's Drone Fleet Flies In Formation
'Programmed to hang... in a hexagonal grid pattern.' - Neal Stephenson, 1995.

RFID Chipped Employees Of Three Square Market
'About a third of the people in Manhattan have replaced their Freedom Card with a radio-frequency chip...' - John Twelve Hawks, 2015.

SkEye Amazing Israeli Gigapixel Drone
'An eye that could not only see, but fly...' - Manly Wade Wellman, 1938.

Cyborg DragonflEye At Your Command
'The dragonfly responded like a toy airplane, taking off and heading east...'

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News

Fog Computing (AKA Edge Computing) Ad Hoc Networks
'The tiny devices chirped their impulse codes at one another...'

Dubai Scorpion Police Hoverbike Ready To Pull Young Kirk Over
'Is there a problem, officer?'

HEXA Robotic Help For Plants
Then some unknown race had chanced upon the dreamers and decided to "help them out."

Korean Tesla Model S Video 'Excelsior' Is Indeed Our Motto
'Improving man by bringing him close to Nature, while they combine the sensations of coasting with the interest of seeing the country well...'

DIY Robot Shoots You In The Face
'...there were automatic guns that fired ligamine darts.'

A Bayesian Approach to Safe Imitation Learning For AIs and Robots
Um, how about that pension for the humans who serve as the models for robot behavior?

Qoobo Headless Robotic Therapy Cat Was Anne McCaffrey's Idea
'...used as surrogates in intense dependency cases.'

Autonomous Cars Talk To Each Other At MCity
'My cars talk to one another.'

PUFFER Robots - From Philip K DIck's Second Variety?
'Across the ground something small and metallic came, flashing in the dull sunlight of midday.'

Russian Space Garden
'We saw the gardens, flooded with artificial sunlight...'

Targeted Neuroplasticity Training For 'Downloading Skills'
'I know kung-fu.'

U of M's MCity To Feature Asimov's Automatobuses
Should you turn autonomous buses off?

Crazyflie Drone Swarm Technology
'...Programmed to hang in space in a hexagonal grid pattern.'

Our GodBot, Who Art In Cyberspace
Vaal hungers! We must serve him.

easyJet Short-Haul Electric Jets
Have a little faith, will you? They're working on it.

Meet Assist-e Honda's Self-Balancing Motorcycle
'He had never ridden any motorized device that lacked onboard steering and balance systems...'

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.