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Tiltrotor Aircraft – A Technology Breakthrough in Aviation

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It has long been a dream of aviation designers to build an aircraft that can fly long ranges at high speed and carry heavy cargo, but can also take off and land like a helicopter. Such an aircraft would have the flexibility to handle an assortment of military operations and would also have commercial use.

Tiltrotor aircrafts are such vehicles that can combine the range and speed of fixed-wing aircraft with the vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) capability of a helicopter. For lift and propulsion, this high speed uses rotating propellers. For vertical flight the proprotors are directly angled to thrust downwards, providing similar strength of lifting that a helicopter possesses. As a tiltrotor aircraft gains speed, the proprotors are slowly titled in the forward direction which help in achieving high speed.

Marine Corps Tiltrotor Aircraft

A Marine Corps MV-22 Osprey prepares to refuel.

The idea of building tiltrotor aircraft using helicopter-like rotors at the wingtips originated in the 1930s. The first design resembling modern tiltrotors was patented by George Lehberger in May 1930.

V-22 Osprey: The V-22 Osprey is an American multi-mission tiltrotor aircraft with both a vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) and short take-off and landing (STOL) capability. It is designed to combine the functionality of a conventional helicopter with the long-range and high-speed cruise performance of a turboprop aircraft.

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