back to article Sikorsky, US Army claim whisper-flapcopter test success

A wind-tunnel test programme aimed at producing new, hi-tech rotor blades for helicopters has finished. The trials, which used blades fitted with trailing-edge flaps like those seen on aeroplane wings, reportedly offer the prospect of much-enhanced copters in future – in particular, the long-heralded "whisper mode" for covert ( …


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  1. Doc Spock
    Thumb Up


    flapcopter ... whirlycraft ... whirlybirds ... flaprotor ... morphcopters

    Can we get an El Reg (or Lewis Page) Thesaurus?

    I'll propose "spin-wing" as an additional term.

    1. Danny 14 Silver badge


      I vote "air flapper".

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        sky sucker, rotaticulator, invertoplane.

  2. Code Monkey

    Whisper mode

    I suspect most of my neighbours would chip in to buy local plod a quieter heilcopter. Then maybe we'd get some sleep

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Maybe even

      You'd be able to make out what they were saying on their PA system as they sit hovering a couple of hundred meters away (as one was doing over weekend)

    2. handle

      At least there's a point to plod...

      ...unlike the private helicopters which daily disturb thousands unlucky enough to live under their flight paths. If they had to provide compensation for the nuisance they cause, they would soon be forced to be designed better. A simple attempt at silencing of their engines would be a good start - this you can hear long before blade noise when they fly over you.

      1. Danny 14 Silver badge


        Just leave a load of air rifles in the local park/spar steps/underpass and the local pondlife will sort it out for you.

  3. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

    It may be a dream, but it isn't mine

    Given the current driving standards shown every day on the road I'd be VERY worried to have such people overhead..

    1. Peter Murphy
      Thumb Down

      Darwin Awards - The Next Generation!

      Oh, man. I'd hate these personal helicopters fall into the hands of chavs, hoons and other assorted ne'er do-wells. Given that a lot of these people are into proving masculinity in a big way, I think we'd have some "interesting" accidents on our hands. What if they decide to try out "chicken"? Or even something scarier, like overlapping blades?

      (It's possible to do it - there's a scene from "Chickenhawk" where two helicopter pilots overlapped ONCE for the hell of it and survived. Note that they were both trained to a high standard by the US Army, and their day job involved flying GIs to VC-infested "hot zones". I wouldn't trust your average junior delinquent to pull the same trick off.)

      At least we wouldn't have to worry about those road fatality crosses. It's hard to stick one up on top of an 18 kV electricity pylon.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "properly controlled, high authority flaps"

    I bet that's going to cost a lot.

  5. tony2heads
    Black Helicopters

    Obvious use for quiet choppers

    but if I tell you I will have to shoot you

  6. The First Dave

    X2 v Osprey

    On what planet can an X2, with two contra-rotating blade sets, plus an additional pusher prop be considered to be simpler than an Osprey with two standard engines, two pretty much standard props, and a standard wing ?

    1. Dave in the States
      Black Helicopters

      re:X2 v Osprey

      I think it's the whole making a plane fly like a helicopter in addition to making a helicopter fly like a plane thing. The transition from one to the other is no small feat.

    2. SkippyBing

      This one

      especially as the Osprey doesn't really have standard engines, props or wings. For starters the engines are cross connected via a shaft running through the wing which also has to accomodate their swivelling.

      The Props meanwhile are non-standard in that apart from folding they also have to do most of the clever stuff a helicopter's have to in terms of flapping, feathering and dragging to give the pilot some way of controlling it in the hover.

      The X2 meanwhile is basically a co-axial helicopter with a pusher prop, not simple but actually fairly standard levels of complexity for a helicopter.

    3. Rich 11 Silver badge


      IIRC, the Osprey has a cross-linkage to provide power to the other prop if one engine fails (or is shot out). Also the wings and engines can be rotated and/or folded up so it can be stored and moved more easily. All in all, it's a pretty complicated bit of engineering, yet co-axial rotors have been used successfully in helicopters for decades (Hoodlum, Werewolf, et al).

  7. Anonymous Coward

    Aw c'mon

    anyone that has seen Blue Thunder (movie) REALLY knows why they want whisper mode...

  8. handle


    A helicopter in every garage? Just how many mpg do they do, fancy blades or not? You still have to expend huge amounts of power just keeping them in the air before you even get anywhere.

  9. John Sturdy

    No problem, in context

    I don't think the US was worrying about mpg back in those days.

  10. siliconhillbilly

    It's been done, sort of

  11. Msan

    Birds of prey - of the avian kind - have an edge

    of fine feathers at the back of their wings to silence their swoop of death - you ever notice how you never know a territorial magpie is about until the fucker is on top of you and half a second from spilling blood? - then you notice that the F22 Raptor has a very similar profile to a bird with wings extended.

    Curious stuff how a particular strand of contemporary aircraft design ends up with shapes that visually appear to be aerodynamically similar to natural forms?

    I know you guys chose the stories, but it's my mums' dying wish for Lewis to write a story on the implications of the Indians scratching the F35 from their jet competition and Gates starting a defence review with a strong focus on the F35. Not having a crack or trolling - just generally curious and interested

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