Concept: FCX-001 designer: Bell Helicopter
Odds of Production: The technology is coming
The news of Bell Helicopter’s FCX-001—the company’s first-ever concept aircraft—has raised expectations for aeronautic advancement. The high-tech transport, which debuted in March at Helicopter Association International’s Heli-Expo in Dallas, features a hybrid propulsion system comprising a thermal engine and electric motors. The airframe is made of sustainable composite materials and designed to harvest, store, and distribute wind and solar energy.
Also on board is an innovative anti-torque system. Located in the rotorless tail boom, it is powered by those electric motors and quietly keeps the aircraft from spinning in the opposite direction of the main rotor. Bell puts a new spin on the rotor by equipping it with blades that shape-shift based on flight conditions, to ensure the most efficient path through the air.
The single-seat cockpit and modular cabin are equally evolutionary. Both are outfitted with artificial intelligence and augmented reality to assist the pilot and provide entertainment for passengers.