Boeing A160 Hummingbird Has Whisper Mode

The Boeing A160 Hummingbird is a new drone helicopter able to operate autonomously for up to twenty-four hours. The A160 is thirty-five feet long with a thirty-six foot rotor diameter. The U.S. Special Forces Command is taking delivery of ten A160's this month.


(A160 Hummingbird drone helicopter)

It can fly at up to 140 knots at 30,000 feet, much higher than conventional helicopters can fly, even while carrying a three hundred pound payload. The A160 has a specially redesigned rotor blade:

To avoid vibration problems, the rotor blades are light and stiff, and their stiffness in flap, lag and torsion is progressively reduced from root to tip, so that the tips are more flexible than the root. This is made possible by the use of tailored carbon fiber construction. The A160 rotor is hingeless and rigid, and has a larger diameter and lower disc loading than a conventional helicopter rotor with the same maximum lift.

Its rotor can be slowed to as little as forty percent of its maximum RPM, operating between 150-350rpm with tip speeds as low as Mach 0.25. This makes it highly fuel efficient and very quiet; helicopter noise is closely linked to rotor speed.

This drone copter made me think of a purely fictional helicopter - Blue Thunder, from the 1983 movie of the same name. The movie was made from a screenplay written in 1979; I don't know if any real-world copters were used as the idea for whisper mode.


(Blue Thunder has whisper mode [1983])

Blue Thunder had a special "whisper mode", a special stealth feature that allowed the copter to hover or move slowly with very little noise.

Boeing's A160 Hummingbird is specifically designed for quiet surveillance; the fictional Blue Thunder helicopter also had special surveillance capabilities. I'm guessing that if the A160 is used in the United States, people may have some the the same misgivings toward the A160 that Frank Murphy (Roy Scheider) had toward Blue Thunder being used for civilian police functions.

Read more at Special Forces Get Stealth Robocopter and an earlier, technical article - Tomorrow's aircraft are poised to break all the rules.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 11/24/2008)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 1 )

Related News Stories - (" Surveillance ")

Is Genetic Testing At Businesses A Bad Idea?
It's not a topic that fares well in science fiction movies-

Sweden Outlaws Drones
'An eye that could not only see, but fly, roam, travel at speeds and in directions to suit its operator...'

Use Your Brainwaves As A Password
'The doors of Mr. Lars, Incorporated, shut, tuned as they were to his own cephalic pattern.'- Philip K. Dick, 1965.

Largest Micro-Drone Swarm Release Successful
'... Programmed to hang in space in a hexagonal grid pattern.' - Neal Stephenson, 1995.

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News

PassivDom 3D Printed House - What If You Could Live Anywhere?
'The houses are prefabricated units...'

Breakthrough In Manufacture Of Red Blood Cells
This blood's for you!

Caihong Solar-Powered Drone 'Atmospheric Satellite'
'... placed in the wings of a plane to generate power from the light falling on that surface.'

NASA Wants Low Earth Orbit Wifi
'This was the center of Interplanetary Communications.'

Is Genetic Testing At Businesses A Bad Idea?
It's not a topic that fares well in science fiction movies-

Wearable Smart Jacket
He pressed the button in his sleeve communicator and snapped: 'Action stations!'

Store One Bit On One Atom
'...each individual molecule has a meaning.'

Fluorescent Bacteria Fashion
'The racks of gowns itched and quivered, their colors running into blurred pools.'

Keith Laumer's Bolo Autonomous Tanks Right On Schedule
'I cannot lie idle under attack.'

When Computers Develop Their Own Language, Will They Talk To Us?
'The curious absent look of a robot talking on the TBR circuits - the Talk Between Robots radio...'

LipNet Reads Lips - Until Disconnected, That Is
'We'd have to cut his higher brain functions... I'm not sure what [HAL} would think about that.'

Eterni.me - To Skype With The Dead
'Nothing... left of Jeserac but a galaxy of electrons frozen in the heart of a crystal.'

Wearable MRI Is Former Occulus/Facebook Exec's New Project
'Your cephalochromoscope... that you always turn on and play when you get home...'

Ford Stratasys Infinte Build 3D Printer
'He proudly indicated his Buick... Almost as good as the original it was printed from...'

The Space Suit As Personal Spaceship
'Darn clever, these suits...'

Dune Fans! Your God Emperor Is Ready
'If one held a sandtrout in the hand, smoothing it over your skin, it formed a living glove.'

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.