Bell Helicopter XV-15 VTOL Tiltrotor
First Albuquerque Visit: 1982
Bell Helicopter Textron Inc. is an American aerospace manufacturer headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas. Bell manufactures military rotorcraft at facilities in Fort Worth and Amarillo, Texas. The Bell XV-15 is an American tiltrotor vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) aircraft that was launched in 1971. It was the second successful experimental tiltrotor aircraft and the first to demonstrate the concept’s performance relative to conventional helicopters.
The XV-15 experimental aircraft introduced major design concepts such as moving the engines from the fuselage to the rotating wingtip pods and directly coupled to the rotors. The concept of a tilting engine introduced complexities in the design of the engines and the engine pods which had to be able to shift from operating horizontally to operating vertically. Those problems were addressed fairly early in the XV-15 program. The first of two Bell XV-15s, tail number N702NA, first flew on 3 May 1977.
For the U.S. Department of Defense Joint-service Vertical take-off/landing Experimental (JVX) aircraft program, both Bell Helicopter and Boeing Vertol teamed up to submit a bid for an enlarged version of the XV-15 in 1983. The Bell Boeing team received a preliminary design contract that year, which led to the development of the Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey.
The Bell XV-15 aircraft, N702NA, piloted by Dorman Cannon and Jim Arnold, was flown to Albuquerque for demonstrations on August 12, 1982. The aircraft is now on display at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum in Washington D.C.
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