The world is constantly moving ahead. No one is surprised by cars with electric and hybrid motors on the Ukrainian roads. Despite of relatively high value, their reliability and economy persuade thousands of car owners to choose “the vehicle of the future”. Virtually all the world automakers are planning to have the hybrid or fully electric versions of all car models in their product line in the next ten years.
And what is happening in the sky at this time?
Nowadays, the leading aircraft builders are considering the electric motors as the basis of aircraft and helicopters engine installation. Modern electric motors outperform “hydrocarbons” almost in all respects. They are much lighter and more powerful and practically do not need maintenance. The resource can be ten times higher than that of gas turbine and piston engines. However, there is one obstacle – electricity, the stock of which must be carried with you.
Modern batteries can store up to 250 watts per kilogram of battery weight. Tesla The innovative developments of an American electric vehicle and clean energy company Tesla and other technology corporations promise to increase this figure to 600 watts per kilogram in the early 30’s. However, if one compares this with 12,000 watts, which can be gotten through the 1 kilogram of gasoline combustion, it becomes clear that energy conversion efficiency, multiplied by three times, does not save the situation.
Comparing a car and a light helicopter (weighing up to 1.5 tons), the first one would have no problems in carrying a 400 kilogram battery (80-100 kW) and travelling on a single charge up to 600 kilometers. However, such a battery is aimed only at 20 minutes’ flight.
Another thing is a hybrid engine installation. Simultaneous engine installation advantages usage and hydrocarbon fuel high energy consumption allow to create the helicopters with the updated characteristics. In the case of the spare small batteries use and automatic emergency landing systems, the reliability of such helicopters will exceed all existing safety standards.
Are the hybrid helicopters being developed in Ukraine?
In early August 2020, the Kyiv Aviation Company Vector received a patent for the helicopters with a hybrid engine installation. This step is extremely important, as it creates a new helicopter development direction with a small takeoff mass.
Currently, the Aviation Company Vector is actively looking for an investor to create a light multi-purpose helicopter VM-4 “Shmel” ( ”Bumblebee” ) and its modifications in the future. According to the commercial director of the enterprise Yegor Shyshenko, there is a parallel work on search both in the foreign markets and attempts to unite Ukrainian potential investors. So far, unfortunately, all the company’s team efforts to draw the government officials attention and domestic investors have failed.
However, the team does not lose enthusiasm and continues working fruitfully on the sketch design of the helicopter, creating a patent base for future developments and participation in the various international exhibitions and forums. The Aviation Company Vector urges to create a helicopter that can compete with the world’s most popular American counterpart namely the Robinson R44 helicopter and replenish Ukraine’s fleet entering the international market under the slogan ”Made in Ukraine”.
Translation: Pylypenko Mariia