The first NASA RSRA (Rotor Systems Research Aircraft)
underwent a series of limited ground and flight tests
during the spring of 1984.
The aircraft was built by the Sikorsky Aircraft Company
for NASA. It was a pure research aircraft, designed to
offer the engineers and scientists a test vehicle which
could bridge the gap between wind tunnel experiments,
and testing full-scale rotor craft.
The RSRA project was a joint NASA/Army venture which began
in December of 1970, with the first of two aircraft being
delivered by Sikorsky on February 11, 1979. The aircraft
was designed to investigate the concepts involved with
stopping the main rotor in flight, with the large blades
then providing aerodynamic lift assistance to the stubby
conventional wings extending from the aircraft's lower
fuselage. This concept gave RSRA aircraft the vertical
flight capability of a helicopter, and the higher cruise
speed of fixed-wing aircraft.
The RSRA had a modified helicopter fuselage, and short,
thick wings. As well as the engines which would be used
to drive the main rotor - once it was fitted - the RSRA
featured two larger additional engines for powering the
vehicle when it was in horizontal flight.
The RSRA flight tests conducted at Dryden Flight Research
Center, Edwards, California eventually led to the development
of the Sikorsky X-Wing project.
Similar and related vehicles:
Lockheed XFV-1 Salmon
Lockheed AH-56 Cheyenne