Boeing has revealed the first plans for a radical passenger version of the vertical takeoff and landing craft currently used by the military.
The firm’s latest patent illustrates a craft with two tilt-rotors on each wing that can be positioned like helicopter blades for takeoff and landing or like propellers for flying.
However, unlike the smaller military version, Boeing’s latest idea can also carry 100 passengers as a commercial plane.
This innovation could be used as a regional commercial plane carrying 100 passengers, a personal aircraft or be designed for military purposes.
The patent was filed in June 2015 and has finally be awarded two years later.
DailyMail.com has contacted Boeing about plans to begin production and has yet to hear a response.
Called ‘Tilt-rotor vertical-lift aircraft’, this document describes ‘an aircraft that includes a fuselage with a higher portion and a lower portion,’ the patent reads.
‘The aircraft also includes two fixed wings that are coupled to and extend from opposing sides of the lower portion of the fuselage.’
‘Additionally, the aircraft includes a tilt-rotor assembly that is coupled to each of the two fixed wings.’
The idea of Vertical Take-off and Landing (VTOL) aircraft have been around for thousands of years – sketches were found in Leonardo da Vinci’s book that exhibit this type of technology.
However, both Boeing and the military are not newcomers to using this type of technology.
The team worked on the Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey, which is a tilt-rotor military aircraft with both VTOL, and short takeoff and landing (STOL) capabilities.
It was the failure of the Iran hostage rescue mission in 1980 that created the need for a new type of aircraft, which could not only take off and land vertically but also could carry combat troops and do so at speed.
And the final product hit the sky in 1989, but it wasn’t fully introduced until 2007.
However, the V-22 has a high-wing configuration that requires more support, maintenance and makes fueling difficult.
The patent reveals that the Boeing plans to use four engines in order to power the tilt-rotors, which are all placed on the wing and not integrated into the rotors like the V-22.
Boeing’s design also moves the engines away from the rotor nacelles, where they are positioned on the tip, and towards the middle of the wings.
This allows the rotors to each be powered by two or more engines through a single gearbox, reports New Atlas.
‘The mid-wing gearbox is positioned within the fuselage between the wings,’ reads that patent.
‘Generally, the mid-wing gearbox includes gears and/or other components that regulate and evenly distribute mechanical rotational energy between the opposing section of the power transmission system’.
Having one gearbox power multiple rotors lets them be much more compact and if one is to fail, the others are able to pick up the slack.