AirGeep II was powered by two turbines to provide one engine out safety, and a larger payload. Compactness in width, length and height gave it a mobility that no other VTOL system possessed. It could operate with ease along roadways, from ship deck, or in other confined areas.
The Airgeep rotors were loaded heavier than helicopter rotors and not capable of autorotation. Thus multiple engines and zero speed-zero height ejection parachutes were used for safety.
The canted fuselage allowed placement of the rear duct at a smaller in-flow turn angle than the forward duct in forward flight. This reduced the momentum drag caused by the sharp turn of airflow through the horizontal ducts.
The higher power and high fuel consumption of early turbines stimulated the idea of powering the landing gear to extend range when not hindered by surface obstacles. A hydrostatic pump drive from one turbine and two hydrostatic motors mounted on the main wheel axles enabled the vehicle to move on the ground at 35 mph with substantially reduced fuel consumption.
The Airgeep could fire weapons while remaining obscured behind an obstruction. Only the weapon and sight need be visible above the line of defilade. The helicopter must rise above the line of defilade in order to launch its weapons mounted below the rotor plane, revealing the large rotor disk, and thus eliminating surprise and providing a much greater target area.
The Airgeep’s ability to fly under trees, overhanging obstructions, under bridges, and even inside buildings, enabled the Airgeep to operate within the nap-of-the-earth and thus maintain its invisibility. The ducts of the AirGeep, when in the hovering position, shielded the propellers and thus their flickering could not be seen visually or by radar, maintaining "stealth" in the battlefield.
Cutbacks in military research funding shelved this promising development.
|Type:||4 place Flying Geep|
|Engines:||(2) Turbomeca Artouste IIC|
|Rotor Prop Diameter||8.4 FT|
|Weight empty:||2,611 LB|
|Normal G.W.||3,670 LB|