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Carter Aviation Reaches Major Milestone

On the morning of November 7, 2013, Carter Aviation Technologies reached a major milestone for just the second time in aviation history, and once again achieved Mu-1 (forward speed/rotor tip speed) with their second generation CarterCopter - Slowed Rotor / Compound (SR/C) aircraft. This aircraft design has the VTOL capabilities of a helicopter, the speed and efficiency of commercial fixed-wing aircraft, and the safety of an autorotating rotor that acts like a parachute in the event of a power failure.

At Mu 1, when the rotor is turning very slowly, the rotor drag all but disappears and with very long small wings, the aircraft efficiency is better than most general aviation aircraft and about 4 times better than the most efficient helicopters. By being able to safely slow the rotor in flight, the technology allows for forward speeds as high as 500 mph, the cruise speed of some business jets, without the tip speed of the advancing blade going over Mach .9.  Other significant achievements so far were a true airspeed of 200 mph at 10,790’ with 315 hp and a weight of 4000+ lbs, an altitude of 13,585 while climbing at over 500’/min, and a low rotor rpm of 113.  The pilots reported the aircraft was as smooth as a fixed wing aircraft on an absolutely smooth day.

Subsequently during a check ride to obtain clearance for the CarterCopter to venture away from Olney airport for a flight demonstration in Wichita Falls, Texas (Kickapoo airport), the CarterCopter and crew once again broke the Mu-1 barrier for a third time. “With all this focus on Mu-1, folks are sort of missing the point,” explained Carter Chief Test Pilot Larry Neal. “It’s really more about achieving exceptional cruise efficiencies and speeds in an otherwise vertical takeoff and landing aircraft. This is the real story – Mu-1 is for the engineers, the rest of the aviation community is more interested in bottom line performance.”

In this latest record breaking flight (November 13th), the CarterCopter spent nearly two minutes above Mu-1. This excursion above Mu-1 included a peak airspeed of 192 mph and a minimum rotor speed of 109 rpm.

Carter Aviation is applying their slowed rotor technology on DARPA’s Tactically Exploited Reconnaissance Node (TERN) UAS program. The seabased TERN aircraft has a threshold mission radius of 600 nm and an objective radius of 900 nm. Time on station required at these distances is well in excess of 15 hrs all while carrying 600# of sensors or a combination of sensors and ordnance. Carter believes they can achieve a time on station over 20 hrs at the 900 nm radius.

Carter has demonstrated L/D performance of 15 with 10-12 being typical for the flight conditions tested thus far. Carter is confident that L/Ds in excess of 16 are possible at altitude. Operating above Mu-1 is critical to achieving these performance levels.

Carter continues to explore opportunities for their CH-45X, which unlike the prototype flying today, provides full hover capability.

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