At Heli-Expo 2017 Bell Helicopter put on display a mockup of their new concept FCX-001 rotorcraft. While not intended to ever be a production aircraft the purpose of the FCX-001 is to assist Bell in developing new technologies and how to deploy them.
Watch the unveiling of the Bell FCX-001 in Dallas Texas
During a pre-Heli-Expo press event at Bell’s Fort Worth, Texas, headquarters, Bell innovation team members gave visiting reporters a walk-through view of the concept helicopter and Bell’s V-280 tiltrotor, using a virtual reality system designed to show off new technologies.
Wearing virtual reality goggles, we were able to fly along as a “crewmember” on a virtual V-280 Valor tiltrotor mission that included low-level flying through mountainous valleys, landing at a base under fire from enemy soldiers and blasting an enemy vehicle with a handheld grenade launcher. – AINonline
Commenting on the idea of making helicopters look more beautiful, creative team lead Levi Bilbrey said, “We put our egos and assumptions aside. Can we challenge ourselves and the industry to do a concept aircraft and think about how they might look in the future?”
The FCX-001 features a single pilot seat and a passenger cabin with two rows of four seats that can be easily reconfigured. The pilot will sit in a glass enclosed cockpit but may actually be ‘optional’ as the fly by wire craft will utilize artificial intelligence and autonomous flight is said to be possible.
The futuristic FCX-001 will have five main rotor blades driven by electric motors for quieter operations. There is no tail rotor. Bell has applied for a patent on the design.
Featured image of the Bell FCX-001 concept helicopter on display at Heli-Expo 2017 by Bell Helicopters.