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  • This video was made possible by CuriosityStream. Watch thousands of

  • high-quality documentaries and get access to Nebula by using the link in

  • the description. This is a Rotodyne. And it might look like a helicopter and

  • an airplane mashed together, but it's neither. It's a lot more revolutionary.

  • Because when it debuted over 60 years ago, the Rotodyne was going to be a new

  • form of mass transport. The quickest way to move from one city center to the next.

  • Landing on downtown rooftops and heliports, but flying much faster, further

  • and more economically than any helicopter. And airlines were interested.

  • But then, as the Rotodyne looked set to revolutionize intercity transport, it just disappeared.

  • To understand why this machine was so revolutionary, consider that it doesn't

  • work like a helicopter. A helicopter uses engine power to spin a rotor blade, which

  • forces air down to create lift.Tilting the rotor is what allows the helicopter

  • to move in a given direction. That's the basic idea. But that's not how Rotodyne

  • works. On a Rotodyne, the large rotor isn't powered. It isn't even connected to

  • a motor. Instead, as air passes naturally through the rotor blades, it causes the

  • rotor to spin around like a pinwheel. And this creates lift. The Rotodyne still has

  • wings and a pair of turboprops, much like an airplane. But in forward flight, the

  • un-powered spinning rotor lifts more than half the aircraft's weight. With this

  • unique design, the Rotodyne flew faster than any helicopter of the era. And it

  • was far more efficient. And even though the rotor wasn't driven by a motor, the

  • Rotodyne could still hover and take off and land vertically just like any helicopter.

  • That's because at the end of each rotor blade were small tip jets. During

  • takeoff and landing, fuel and compressed air supplied by the turboprops would

  • ignite to spin up the rotor. Once in forward flight, the tip jets were shut

  • off and the rotor would once again spin freely. By 1959 the Rotodyne was

  • attracting worldwide interest. Because for one thing, it promised to

  • revolutionize the way we traveled between cities. In the 1950's and 60's,

  • intercity air travel was on the rise. But while a trip from New York to Boston by

  • airplane might only take about an hour, you'd also need to get to and from the

  • airport. And in many congested cities, that was beginning to take longer than

  • the flight itself. One solution was to use helicopters.

  • In April, the new helicopter service is due to open from the top of the Pan-Am building.

  • If the service does come about, you'll be taking off from the fourth highest building in New York.

  • 59 storeys up. it's hoped that eventually the service will carry 5,000 passengers a day.

  • 5,000 passengers who would otherwise be condemned to this.

  • By the 1960's helicopter airlines had cropped up in major American cities.

  • Letting passengers and skip the traffic by flying right over it. The problem was,

  • none of them were actually making money. Because helicopters were simply too

  • inefficient, operating anywhere from 20 to 30 cents per seat mile. And the only

  • way helicopter Airlines like New York Airways could even exist was through

  • government subsidies to offset operational costs. But the Rotodyne was

  • going to change all that, bringing costs down to as little as 4 cents per seat

  • mile, which would make helicopter airlines profitable. And the Rotodyne

  • wasn't just a better helicopter. With vastly improved speed and range, it would

  • be a new way to travel between cities, linking one city center to the next.

  • The concept behind the Rotodyne dates all the way back to the early 1920's, when

  • a pioneering Spanish inventor set out to build a safer plane. By adding an

  • un-powered freely spinning rotor, his planes could fly slowly without stalling,

  • making them inherently safer than airplanes. In fact, without any forward

  • motion, the planes would simply glide back to earth, slower than a parachute.

  • They were called autogyros. Over the years, they were used in military reconnaissance and

  • even to deliver mail. But by the 1940's, helicopter technology improved and autogyros

  • largely fell out of favor. But decades later, British aircraft

  • manufacturer Fairey aviation still saw enormous potential in the autogyro

  • concept. If the vertical takeoff and landing capability of a helicopter could

  • be combined with the speed and efficiency of an airplane, Fairey would

  • have something truly special on their hands. With the help of funding from the

  • British government, the first Rotodyne prototype took to the skies in 1957.

  • It could carry 40 passengers 700 kilometers and reach speeds of over 300 kilometers per hour.

  • All while being able to land and take off on a space not much larger than

  • the aircraft itself. And after 350 successful test flights, the Rotodyne

  • proved to be safe and capable. But of course, it all went to [expletive].

  • For one, the Rotodyne's tip jets made a lot of noise.

  • And that was going to be a problem right in the middle of a city. From the start,

  • there were doubts about whether the public would tolerate it. And noise is

  • often believed to be the reason why the Rotodyne failed. But that's not the whole

  • story. After proving their prototype, fairy moved on to develop a production

  • version. A larger more capable Rotodyne that could carry up to 75 passengers. And

  • it promised to be quieter. Ferry spent years developing noise suppressor

  • technology for the Rotodyne's tip jets. And while progress was slow, by 1960

  • the engineering team had reduced noise by over 15%. And airlines were interested,

  • with small orders coming in from around the world. Not bad for an entirely new

  • kind of transport. But to get the production version built, Fairey still

  • needed about £10 million more in funding from the British government. And it was

  • money they'd never get. Because at the start of the 1960's, Britain's aviation

  • industry was a mess. Too many aircraft builders were building too few planes

  • and relying heavily on government sponsored projects. The solution was to

  • force these companies, including Fairey Aviation to merge. And the Rotodyne got

  • caught in the shuffle, competing with a number of other helicopter projects.

  • progress was also slowed by difficulties sourcing more powerful engines. And the

  • need to reduce tip jet noise even further. When it became clear that the

  • Rotodyne wouldn't be delivered to Airlines on time, and the eventual cost

  • of each Rotodyne would have been too high,

  • one by one orders were cancelled. In 1962, the British government, facing economic

  • pressures, suddenly pulled funding for Rotodyne. And the half

  • helicopter, half plane, once promising to revolutionize intercity travel... just

  • disappeared. The working prototype and technical research were quickly

  • destroyed. Leaving only a few small pieces for museum display

  • The Rotodyne failed to change air travel and only a single prototype was ever

  • built. But not all ambitious leaps forward in engineering lead to such

  • failure. Take the DC-3. A machine that in its time, revolutionized air travel and

  • earned a legendary status in wartime. Over 16,000 DC-3 variants were built.

  • This remarkable plane took the skies just three decades after the Wright

  • brothers first flight. And yet, hundreds of DC-3's are still flying today. Learn

  • about this plane's incredible story on CuriosityStream. A streaming service

  • with thousands of full-length documentaries by some of the best film

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  • new platform built by some of YouTube's top educational creators. Nebula is where

  • creators make content for their audience without worrying about YouTube's

  • recommendation algorithm and annoying ads. Get a year of CuriosityStream and

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  • curiositystream.com/mustard and using the 'mustard' when you sign up.

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Why The Vertical Takeoff Airliner Failed: The Rotodyne Story

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    joey joey に公開 2021 年 05 月 28 日
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