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NASA Sikorsky RSRA

NASA Sikorsky RSRA

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:
Sikorsky X2
Bell X-22
Lockheed XFV-1 Salmon
Lockheed AH-56 Cheyenne
Bell X-14
Hiller X-18

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