My biggest problem with Time’s crap cover story on the V-22 is that it gives reasoned criticism of the Bell-Boeing tiltrotor a bad name.
To best view the V-22′s shortcomings as a hybrid helicopter-airplane, it helps to look at an aircraft design that may do vertical and short takeoff and landing manuevers better.
Thankfully, Boeing received a patent on September 11 that proposes such a design. Behold:
This is a single-engine vertical takeoff and landing aircraft that uses split-torque face gears to drive three lift fans for vertical lift and two pusher propellers for forward thrust. Gone is the cumbersone complexity of the V-22′s tilting wings and two engines.
The key new technology proposed in the patent is the split-torque face gear, which comes from Boeing’s recent upgrades of the AH-64 Apache helicopter. As my colleague The Woracle explained to me, this device allows the engine to drive the fan and the pusher-prop simultaneously. The trick will be to figure out how to manage the power loads going to either the fan or the prop. Here’s how it looks:
And this is a drawing of the complete system: