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 ")

Nuclear Drones Could Fly For Years
'I sent my eyes on their rounds and tended my gallery of one hundred-thirty changing pictures...' - Roger Zelazny, 1966.

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.

 

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

Orwell's Memory Hole Looms Larger Thanks To Nvidia
'All history was a palimpsest, scraped clean and reinscribed exactly as often as was necessary.'

Pipefish Robot Checks Pipes Cheap
Just like capsule endoscopy, but for bigger pipes. That go underground.

Nifty New SDS Space Debris Sensor For ISS
'Their radars... could easily pinpoint the debris of the early Space Age.'

NanoRacks Space Station Module Concept Validated
Space junk into space architecture.

Nuclear Drones Could Fly For Years
'I sent my eyes on their rounds and tended my gallery of one hundred-thirty changing pictures...'

SciFiQ Science Fiction Writing Aid
'Books were just a commodity that had to be produced, like jam or bootlaces.'

Robot Only Faster, Not Better, At Recycling
'Whenever a robot finds something it can't identify straight off... it puts whatever it is in the hopper outside your window.'

Poland Starts With 1000 Warmate 'Suicide Drones'
'Royal Security had told the pods to electrocute you or blast you into chum.'

Dream Of Building Your Own Rocket?
Fiorello Bodoni, you inspire all of us.

Zero Mass 'Vaporators' Pull Drinking Water From The Air
Did you think of Star Wars?

Elon Musk Fears A 'Fleet-Wide Hack' Of Autonomous Vehicles
'Khan grinned. 'It's alive! Bu-wahhahahah!''

China Melts Tibetan Permafrost To Plant Forest
'Can you give us a microwave spotlight?'

iFlytek Doctor Robot First To Pass Medical Exams
Doctor shortage? No problem, we'll just use the autodoc.

Slaughterbot AI KIller Quadcopter Drones
'The real border was defended by... a swarm of quasi-independent aerostats.'

Do We Really Want Backflipping Robots?
Also includes wonderful blooper reel.

RNA-Based Biocomputing Device
Living things can sense and analyze complex signals in living cells.

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.