Tianjin, September 9 (ZXS) -- Electric helicopters, single-person all-electric multicopters, and hydrogen-powered vertical take-off and landing vehicles were unveiled for the first time at the sixth China Tianjin International Helicopter Expo. Industry insiders pointed out that with the acceleration of commercial operation of new energy aircraft, it may completely subvert the development of the traditional civil helicopter industry.

Electric aircraft are those that rely on electric motors rather than internal combustion engines. From a technical point of view, electric aircraft have the advantages of zero emissions, low noise, good riding comfort, safety and reliability.

"In the future, helicopters will develop in the direction of high-speed, intelligent, unmanned and green new energy." Deng Jinghui, chief designer of the Aviation Industry Helicopter Design and Research Institute, told reporters in Tianjin a few days ago that in recent years, we have actively promoted the advance research of helicopter technology. Aiming at the implementation of innovation-driven development strategy, starting from the source of technology, focusing on the themes of "intelligence", "unmanned" and "green", we actively carry out original technology research and break through a large number of cutting-edge and disruptive technologies.

The picture shows the Xuange-9, an all-electric multicopter exhibited at the 14th China Tianjin International Helicopter Expo on September 300. Photo by China News Agency reporter Ruan Yulin

At the Helicopter Expo, the "Scientific Research and Innovation" exhibition area of Aviation Industry Corporation of China is displaying AR-300 all-electric multicopter aircraft, electric drive rotor system and M20 hydrogen energy vertical take-off and landing vehicle, as well as new concepts and new energy innovative scientific research products in the fields of flight control and adaptive technology.

Many visitors walk through the exhibition area and stop to observe the AR-300. The AR-300, the Rotor-300 all-electric multicopter, has a top hexacopter that opens like a 6.4-meter-diameter "steering wheel" and an open cockpit attached below. According to the exhibition information, the maximum flight speed of the model is 100 kilometers and the maximum endurance time is 40 minutes.

Deng Jinghui said that the Xuange-300 all-electric multicopter shown by our real aircraft is an all-electric drive hexacopter equipped with high-performance battery, motor and electronic control system, adopts all-composite body structure, based on modular design concept, can quickly realize manned and unmanned state conversion, and has a unique role in civilian fields such as tourism, urban transportation, and material transportation, as well as military fields such as battlefield projection, fire strike, and intelligence reconnaissance.

At the exhibition, a hydrogen-powered UAV was also exhibited for the first time, namely the M20 hydrogen energy variable-pitch multi-rotor vehicle, which has a take-off weight of 20 kg, a cruising speed of up to 40 kilometers per hour, and a flight duration of 3 hours. This hydrogen-powered vertical take-off and landing vehicle uses high-pressure hydrogen as its energy source.

Faye Wong, a senior engineer at the Aviation Industry Helicopter Design Institute, said that a prominent advantage of the hydrogen energy vehicle configuration is that the flight time is longer, which can reach 3 hours. Not only is it green and pollution-free, but it also has higher comprehensive economic benefits when performing long-endurance missions.

"Looking ahead, the challenges and pressures are unprecedented." Deng Jinghui said that some new concepts and configurations have a great impact on traditional helicopter technology, and the traditional helicopter market pattern represented by fuel power is changing.

According to the recently released "Civil Helicopter China Market Forecast Annual Report (2023-2032)", the current global eVTOL (electric vertical take-off and landing aircraft) market orders totaled more than 1,3 units, mainly used in the field of personnel transportation and air logistics, and will compete or replace traditional helicopters in the fields of business flights, short-distance transportation, low-altitude tourism, general aviation cargo, medical rescue and other fields in the future.

Deng Jinghui believes that with the development of new energy technology, the new electrically driven vertical take-off and landing aircraft no longer follow the traditional path, but replace the engine with a motor. In addition, compared with the large rotors used in traditional helicopters, vertical take-off and landing vehicles can use 6 or even 10 pairs of rotors to replace single large rotors. Because of these revolutionary changes, traditional helicopters have suffered greatly.

Deng Jinghui said that the development of new energy technology will bring great challenges to traditional helicopters, and the development and application of intelligent technology will have a subversive effect in the application field of helicopters.

It is reported that Shenzhen vigorously expands urban air mobility application scenarios, proposes to develop eVTOL-based intercity flights, cross-border flights, air ferries, interline connections, business travel, air commuting and other new urban air transportation formats, and plans to open more than 10 urban and intercity low-altitude routes.

According to the report, at present, Chinese eVTOL manufacturers have signed orders for more than 2600,<> aircraft, and most of the orders are intentional orders. Cao He, director of the Civil Aircraft System Engineering Research Center of China's aviation industry, said that with the accelerated commercial operation of new energy aircraft represented by eVTOL, it may completely subvert the development of the traditional civil helicopter industry and bring new opportunities and challenges. (End)