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Challis Heliplane

Challis Heliplane

Challis Heliplane 280 UAV
The Challis Heliplane is a unique vehicle which fuses the versatility and maneuverability of a helicopter, with the range and speed of a conventional propellor driven airplane.

The Challis Heliplane is also safer than a tilt rotor aircraft due to the fact that in an emergency it can be landed without power because the blades can autorotate. This means that as the Heliplane falls to the ground the air flowing into the rotor blades makes them spin allowing for a safe landing.

Conceived by Doug Challis, a commercial helicopter pilot and president of Challis Heliplanes, the unusual design is currently well into the prototype and testing phase of development. A commercially available UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) version could be on offer by 2010. Due to the complex design and safety considerations a larger manned version could be available by 2013 at the earliest.

Some of the jobs for which the Challis Heliplane would be suited for include, search and rescue, offshore development, air ambulance, surveillance, military applications and personal transport. The Challis heliplane has also been designed as a potential alternative to the Boeing V-22 Osprey, a multi-billion dollar project still deemed too unsafe for civilian transport.

Amongst the many unique design features of the Challis Heliplane is a single fixed wing that is located on the retreating blade side of the aircraft. This wing begins to produce lift at high airspeed to coincide with when the retreating blade is starting to loose its ability to maintain lift.

A smaller wing at the tail of the Heliplane also produces lift when the vehicle is traveling at speed. This helps to balance out the Heliplane's center of lift during high speed travel.

During hover, the flight dynamics are exactly the same as a conventional helicopter, the center of lift, and the center of gravity, are in line with the main rotor mast.

To find out more about the Challis Heliplane and see several video presentations on how the aircraft works visit