2015 Year at a Glance

2015 Year at a Glance70thWestland W.85 Project
1952 Heavy Lift Study 

In the early 1950s, Westland undertook a number of helicopter design studies with a very wide range of aircraft size and payload: the W.80, a 24-passenger short-range helicopter; the W.81, a 32-passenger, high-speed helicopter with two turbine engines; and the W.90, an enormous helicopter that was designed to carry 450 troops were part of these studies. It had a 200-ft (61 m) diameter main rotor. It has to be appreciated that this was a conceptual exercise rather than a firm commitment, although the Westland Dragonfly and Whirlwind resulted from this activity.

The Westland W.85, shown in the artist rendering, was envisioned to have a payload of 15 tons (30,000 lb or 13,600 kg) which was equivalent to 102 passengers in the civil version or 102 troops in the military variant. An internal cabin volume of 4,400 cubic feet (125 cubic meters) enabled side-by-side loading/unloading of vehicles, artillery or other cargo through the nose-mounted clam-shell doors or through the retractable rear ramp. Oversized loads could also be carried with an external cargo hook.

The novel rotor system featured two Armstrong Siddeley Adder turbojets in each of the three rotor tip-mounted nacelles. Diameter of the 3-bladed main rotor was 104 ft (31.7 m). A twin tail-rotor system was located on each side of the rear fuselage and provided anti-torque and yaw control. A test rig was installed in a remote site close to the factory to investigate tip-jet drive, but the noise levels alone were high enough to deter continued activity. 

(AgustaWestland painting; Ken Bartie drawing; text by David Gibbings)

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