DARPA Heliplane Project
In 2005, the Company was selected by the DARPA (Defense Advance Research Program Agency under the US Department of Defense) to lead development of the Heliplane – a 400 mph VTOL gyrodyne capable of 1,000 nm range and HOGE at 4k/95. Phase I of this program was successfully completed in 2008 with all program goals having been met.
The Company assembled for this program “the most powerful rotorwing science team ever assembled,” to quote Ned Chase, Chief of the US Army’s Platform Technology Division, AATD, US Army Aviation & Missile Command. Besides managing the project, the Company was responsible for the design, drawings, stress and aeroelastic analyses, and flight properties of Heliplane with Georgia Tech, and the manufacturing feasibility studies, building of test articles and wind tunnel testing with Seattle State University and Maryland University.
In addition to the Company’s Team of 40 engineers and drafters, the Heliplane team included four winners of the American Helicopter Societies’ most prestigious award for a life of excellence in rotorwing science: the Alexander A. Nikolsky award, as well as top rotorwing scientists from NASA, US Government, Academia, and the Rotorwing Industry.
- The Georgia Institute of Technology for performance, CFD and aeroelastic analysis, wind tunnel testing, as well as detail analysis work and testing of noise
- Adam Aircraft for the airframe development
- Williams International for design of modifications to the engines, analysis and testing of the tip-jet motors
- A highly renowned team of aerospace engineers, including four Alexander A. Nikolsky Award recipients:
- Mr. Walter Sonneborn, GBA [GAC] Chief Engineer
- Dr. Ken Rosen, External DARPA Consultant
- Dr. Daniel Schrage, Director, NASA Center of Excellence in Rotorcraft Technology, Georgia Institute of Technology
- Dr. David Peters, GBA [GAC] Consultant
- Senior Engineering Professors from: Georgia Tech, University of Maryland, Penn State University, Utah State University, University of Arizona, and Washington University St. Louis
- On the Government Team under DARPA, the Company also received important support from both NASA and the Army’s AFDD team at the NASA Ames Research Center. This was in addition to important support from DARPA’s collection of top rotorcraft technologists including Dr. Ken Rosen, retired Chief Engineer of Sikorsky, who led nearly all of Sikorsky’s most advanced rotorwing development projects.