- Chinese researchers are developing an electric helicopter
- The goal is to develop a prototype for demonstration purposes
Chinese researchers are developing an electric helicopter, starting with the tail rotor, according to the China Helicopter Research and Development Institute in Jiangxi Province in China.
Researchers and engineers at the institute are building a prototype tail rotor, which they intend to try out on a two metric ton conventional helicopter, said Chief Designer at the China Helicopter Research and Development Institute, Deng Jinghui.
Deng Jinghui said engineers will remove the conventional helicopter’s tail rotor and replace it with the electric tail rotor. The electric tail rotor generates thrust independently compared to a conventional tail rotor that would rely on traditional engines and related transmission apparatus.
The development of the electric tail rotor is the first step in exploring whether an entirely electric helicopter is technically feasible. The testing of the electric tail rotor’s performance is expected to take two years.
If the performance of the electric tail rotor is satisfactory, the designers and engineers will then replace the main engine and conventional main rotor of the helicopter used in testing, with an electric generator, electric motor and electrically propelled main rotor. The helicopter will then undergo further tests.
The development of a successful electric helicopter relies on strong motors and long-lasting batteries, that would outperform a traditional helicopter. The major advantage of an electric helicopter is that it will not need transmissions. This will reduce the weight of the helicopter, streamline the helicopter’s structure, improve reliability and make the helicopter easier to control.
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