Dwayne Brown Headquarters, Washington, DC (Phone: 202/358-1726

)

May 20, 1997

Mike Mewhinney Ames Research Center, Mountain View, CA (Phone: 415/604-3937) RELEASE: 97-105 NASA TECHNOLOGY SPAWNS NEW CIVILIAN TILTROTOR AIRCRAFT After 20 years of research and development, an aircraft known as the tiltrotor, which combines the speed and range of a turboprop airplane with the vertical takeoff and landing capability of a helicopter, is poised to enter commercial service. NASA's Ames Research Center, Mountain View, CA, which manages NASA's Short Haul Civil Tiltrotor program, will look back on 20 years of development during a special program there, celebrating the 20th anniversary of the first flight of the XV-15 Tiltrotor Research Aircraft, on Thursday, May 22 starting at 11:30 a.m. EDT in the Main Auditorium (N-201). Former NASA Deputy Administrator Dr. Hans Mark will discuss "The Tiltrotor Story: A Classic American Technology Development" from noon until 1 p.m. EDT, followed by tours of key tiltrotor research facilities from 1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. EDT. Media are invited to attend. After pioneering work in the past, Ames is continuing its work on the tiltrotor concept with studies on the development of a 40-passenger civil tiltrotor. A 1995 Department of Transportation study concluded that a new air transportation system based on civil tiltrotor technology could be created and that a 40passenger civil tiltrotor is feasible technically, economically and environmentally. In July 1999, Bell Helicopter Textron Inc., Forth Worth,TX, and Boeing Defense and Space Group's Helicopters Division, Philadelphia, PA, plan to conduct the first flight of the nation's first civilian tiltrotor, the Bell-Boeing 609, a nine-passenger executive transport aircraft. The company is currently building the world's first production tiltrotor, the V22 Osprey, a military aircraft that will carry 24 combat-ready troops. Bell-Boeing estimates a domestic market of about 1,000 aircraft for the 609 over the next 20 years.

In addition to the V-22 and 609, Sikorsky Aircraft Corp., a subsidiary of United Technologies Corp., Stratford, CT, is actively pursuing the technology for the next generation of tiltrotors, a variable-diameter tiltrotor, which could further develop the tiltrotor's capability to match those of both a helicopter and a turboprop airplane. Both the 609 and V-22 are direct descendants of the XV-15 Tiltrotor Research Aircraft, developed under a joint NASA/Army/Bell program at Ames. "The XV-15 was the proof-of-concept vehicle for tiltrotor aircraft," said William J. Snyder, manager of the Advanced Tiltrotor Transport Technology Office at Ames. "The XV-15, which is still flying at Bell Helicopter Textron's flight test center in Arlington, TX, established the technology database for development of the world's first production tiltrotor, the Bell-Boeing V-22 Osprey and the Bell-Boeing 609," Snyder said. "It's the singlemost important aeronautical development fully attributable to Ames." Tiltrotor technology, as exemplified by the XV-15, has been one of the most successful aeronautics research programs in NASA's history. "The XV-15 research aircraft's research contributions did not end with the initiation of the V-22; it continues today to be the primary civil testbed for flight evaluation of new tiltrotor technology, almost 20 years after its first flight," Snyder said. The XV-15 combines standard aircraft cruise flight with vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) and short takeoff and landing (STOL) capabilities. A unique feature of the XV-15 are the two large, three-bladed proprotors mounted at the tips of the wings. For takeoff, the proprotors and their engines are rotated straight up, enabling the aircraft to lift off vertically, like a helicopter. Once off the ground, the proprotors and engines rotate forward like a conventional aircraft enabling it to cruise for more than two hours. These features enable the XV-15 to take off and land at small landing terminals or vertiports rather than at conventional airports and thus give them a significant advantage over turboprop aircraft. "By removing short haul turboprops from the nation's major airports and replacing them with 40-passenger tiltrotor transports, airport congestion and delays could be substantially reduced and substantial savings in time and dollars could be

realized by passengers and by the air transport system," Snyder said. "The XV-15 is much quieter in cruise flight than turboprops. Further, flight research has shown that by converting the proprotors from airplane to helicopter mode in a certain way, the noise footprint of the XV-15 has been found to be reduced by 30 percent over that made by conventional helicopters -- a very significant accomplishment that is important for community acceptance," said John Zuk, national lead for civil tiltrotor studies in the Advanced Tiltrotor Transport Technology Office at Ames. Twenty years ago this month, the XV-15 successfully completed its first flight at the Bell Helicopter plant in Texas under AmesÕ management. The aircraft had a 15-year career in flight research at Ames before being sent to Bell in 1994 for further research. -end-