by email or playing phone tag, he notes.
Just walk five feet to talk to someone
else. This permitted Project Zero to be
kept absolutely quiet.
Wang says,“Everything worked – the
whole design – the first try.”The aircraft
didn’t require any redesign, rework or
other changes.“It takes good intuition,
experience, common sense and a strong
desire to make it work.”
The Future of Zero
M
any research programs are
conducted with nothing
tangible resulting at the end,
Wang says, so the decision was made
that it “must fly and must be full size.”
AgustaWestland is now“digesting what
we have learned, how to put technology
into our existing products as well as
new products.”
Wang emphasizes that the fly-by-
wire Project Zero itself “is not a
product.”The company is looking for
technology spinoffs to its helicopter
product line.“What is the fastest way to
recover the economic investment?”The
technologies developed by each
partner are being fed into their various
industrial sectors to bring value to each
company.
In addition, the Advanced Concepts
Group is continuing its work on the
hybrid diesel propulsion system.
AgustaWestland has been working on
this for two years now, and is also
considering fuel cells and other
approaches.
Meanwhile, AgustaWestland is
moving forward with development of
the AW609 civil tiltrotor following its full
acquisition in 2011 of the program from
Bell Helicopter, its partner in what had
been called the BA609. It is progressing
towards its goal of achieving U.S. FAA
certification of the civil tiltrotor in 2016
and plans to begin deliveries
immediately afterwards. It has
established the subsidiary
AgustaWestland Tilt Rotor Company at a
development site in Arlington, Texas to
pursue flight testing of the first
prototype and FAA certification.
With the
leadership in
developing the
world’s first civil
tiltrotor, a novel
technology
testbed and a
new attitude for
doing business,
Project Zero is
perhaps only a
glimpse of
AgustaWestland’s
continued drive
for innovation in
vertical flight.
14
VERTIFLITE May/June 2013
Rendering of the Project Zero aircraft in wingborne flight.
Project Zero uses two integrated rotors that can be tilted through more than 90°. Flight tests have
been conducted with both shrouded and unshrouded rotors.
1,2,3,4,5 7