Piasecki reveals new look for hot-rod Chinook

Washington DC
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Piasecki Aircraft has revealed new images of a Boeing CH-47 Chinook transport helicopter augmented by ducted-fan thrusters, which can be vectored to boost maximum speed to 250kt (462km/h) or lift capacity by 30%.

The conceptual drawings, which reveal twin thrusters mounted on either side of the Chinook's mid-fuselage, were made public in a patent application published in mid-January. According to Piasecki's description, the vectored thrust is controlled by differential pitch propellers and horizontal vains.

The patent filing is an extension of Piasecki's ongoing experiments with the X-49A vectored thrust ducted propeller system, a Sikorsky UH-60 modified with a tail-mounted ducted fan and wings.

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© Piasecki

So far, the US Army has not created a requirement to augment the speed or lift capability of its helicopter fleet. However, Boeing acknowledges making a "minor" investment in the Piasecki project. In an interview, Phil Dunford, vice-president and general manager for Boeing Rotorcraft, said the compound rotor concept has potential.

"There is a potential for the compound to be a capability that extends the current configuration of our aircraft into something quicker, with modifications to our aircraft that aren't as big maybe as a brand new programme," Dunford said.

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 © Piasecki
For more information read Stephen Trimble's Dewline blog