Bell Helicopter FCX-001

Vision of the future

\\ Text Maria Amélia Pires
\\ Photography ©Bell Helicopter

The Bell Helicopter FCX-001 intends to show how technologies can revolutionise pilot and passenger experiences.

On display at Heli-Expo 2017, one of the sector’s largest trade fairs, held in Dallas, Texas, USA, the Bell Helicopter FCX-001 is the first helicopter/concept from the company that presents a three-dimensional development to offer safer, smarter and more efficient solutions. Resulting from the dedication of a highly qualified team, the FCX-001 is a futuristic project making use of emerging technologies, such as artificial intelligence and augmented reality. In addition to the innovative technical specifications and interior design, the exterior is equally cutting edge, showing the way for the future.

Aiming to be a pioneer in the aeronautics industry, Bell Helicopter, a company within the Textron Inc. group, has assembled a dedicated team to concentrate on latest technologies and the way in which these can be incorporated in its products. A core of engineers and a group of graphic designers have joined forces, working together to create the FCX-001, a new helicopter concept, which opens the way to the future, and which the company wants to bring onto the market.

Built to meet the constant demands of customers, the Bell Helicopter FCX-001 intends to show how technologies can revolutionise pilot and passenger experiences. With just one seat located in the centre of the cockpit, all that is needed is one pilot, irrespective of operational conditions. Another innovation is the fact that the aircraft can be controlled via augmented reality, connected to a computer endowed with artificial intelligence, similar to that used in F-35 fighters. The company has also added a raft of other FCX-001 technologies, such as a new anti-torque system, hybridized propulsion, a ‘airframe’ made of advanced, sustainable materials to improve performance and enable various configurations, landing gear with innovative formats and rotor blades that morph according to flight regimes. In addition, the passenger cabin design features modular flooring to allow rapid seating configuration changes. When configured for passenger transportation, passengers can enjoy customised LED overhead lighting depending on their preference and also an onboard entertainment system.

It is not known when this FCX-001 will go from concept to reality, taking to the skies around the globe. But the future is already tomorrow!