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Could a wing be added to a helicopter to allow the entire craft to tip 90 degrees forward allowing it to fly faster like a plane using a fixed wing and leaning into the wing for lift?

I understand that there would be major modifications to be made but would there be any benefit?

enter image description hereenter image description here

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    $\begingroup$ It looks very draggy, best to tilt the body 90° CCW and call it an aeroplane. $\endgroup$ – Koyovis Jun 1 at 4:57
  • $\begingroup$ @Koyovis Yes,I know. A Cobra helicopter would be more aerodynamic and the overall shape would have to change to be streamline at that angle. $\endgroup$ – Muze the good Troll. Jun 1 at 5:06
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    $\begingroup$ Is a V-22 Osprey what you’re looking for? $\endgroup$ – Pondlife Jun 1 at 5:15
  • $\begingroup$ Another helicopter that could be considered a hybrid is the Eurocopter X³ (x-cubed) which has short wings with a propeller attached on each side and no tail rotor. It flies some 255kts (472 km/h) according to wikipedia: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eurocopter_X%C2%B3 $\endgroup$ – Jan Jun 1 at 7:24
  • $\begingroup$ The V22 Osprey is essentially a twin rotor helicopter that can reposition its engines and propellers to fly like a plane. $\endgroup$ – Juan Jimenez Jun 1 at 15:41
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You've described a tail-sitter aircraft. Instead of a helicopter that tilts sideways to cruise, it's a airplane that can sit on its tail and uses thrust to take off vertically, before transitioning to fixed-wing horizontal flight. This makes more sense since a plane spends more time in cruise than takeoff.

They were first demonstrated by Nazi Germany during WWII. A major benefit over the tiltrotor or tiltwing is that you don't need the bearings that can support the thrust of the engines or lift of the wings. You can also use a single centerline engine. Existing designs use contra-rotating propellers or jet thrust vectoring for anti-torque instead of the helicopter tail rotor.

The idea has been revived recently for UAVs, which don't have the occupant comfort problem: Aerovironment SkyTote

Aerovironment SkyTote (US Government photo)

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There would certainly be a great benefit in occupant comfort!

The aircraft would get greatly increased drag of its large frontal cross-section and lose most of the lift that the rotary wing normally produces. It's not just a propeller turned upwards, but an actual wing, producing lift on the same principles. Helicopters require far less power to fly forward than to hover thanks to this dynamic lift.

Some occupants don't appreciate the improved ergonomics of the depicted position and prefer that only the rotor is tilted forward. To them, the solution is tiltrotors like the V-22 - you get to use the rotors as huge propellers, but not the massive drag from tilting the entire plane. Note the rotors are also sized somewhat smaller than for a pure helicopter, and still their size is a source of extra drag in flight.

In the drone world, when designing from scratch, there's been a much more elegant solution - the Parrot Swing. And yes, it's probably the first aircraft to look like the X-wing for entirely practical reasons. But remember that quadcopters (drones) are not normal helicopters; they use differential thrust from simple fixed propellers for control, not complicated rotor assemblies that keep each blade at proper pitch.

Simply attaching big wings to a heli won't let it fly this way for long, but special craft that take off as helicopters and fly like planes can and have been built.

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    $\begingroup$ Not to mention yaw control which becomes interesting. Not sure how much ironic answers are appreciated here, generally, but I like it... $\endgroup$ – Cpt Reynolds Jun 1 at 10:07
  • $\begingroup$ But if the rotor wings could be designed in such a way that their length can be adjusted&reduced for the vertical flight phase, then increased back again for landing, then the drag problem could be overcome. Further if the aircraft legs could transform into 2 horizontal stabilizers for horizontal flight 90 degrees of the 2 that will act as vertical stabilizer equipped with a rudder. The fourth leg at the bottom could extentend into the one at the top to extend it into a tail. It could be designed with 3 legs that are 90 degrees to each other, one with the ability to extend into a rudder $\endgroup$ – securitydude5 Jun 3 at 8:04
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It would be far simpler just to add wings and tilt only the rotor 90 degrees, and not the entire fuselage. Drag would be much lower, and the occupants wouldn't have to endure hanging down in their seats.

You could call it... a tilt-rotor.

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You could. But in the advent of tiltrotor aircraft why would you want to?

What you propose is grossly inefficient, awkward for the occupants and counterproductive in terms of drag.

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  • $\begingroup$ What about now? $\endgroup$ – Muze the good Troll. Jun 3 at 1:49
  • $\begingroup$ Again, the idea has been considered but there are simpler alternatives such as a tilt rotor design. Other types like X-Wing concept aircraft have been investigated as well, but they have their own drawbacks that make the design prohibitive, too. $\endgroup$ – Carlo Felicione Jun 3 at 2:36
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This picture of the BV-37 came up that somewhat proves my concept, but the wing moves forward in flight and the helicopter leans onto the wing some. I wanted to know if the wings span was long enough if the rotor blades could serve as a propeller and the wing provide lift.

enter image description here enter image description here

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