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NASA 's Tilt Rotor Presented to National Air and Space Museum
One of NASA's most successful research aircraft, the XV-15 Tilt rotor, will be displayed at the National Air and Space Museum's new Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Northern Virginia.

Although tilt rotor research began in the 1950's with the Bell XV-3 convertiplane, the XV-15 didn't make its first flight until after extensive testing in May of 1977 .

XV-15 tilt rotor aircraft The XV-15 Tilt rotor's unique design gave it the ability to take-off, hover and land like a helicopter, yet fly with the range and speed of a turboprop aircraft.

At right: Photo shows the unique XV-15 Tilt rotor aircraft in vertical flight at the NASA Dryden Flight Research Center.

What made this aircraft so versatile was the ease with which it could be converted from one flight mode to another once off the ground. With a tilt adjustment to the rotor, the aircraft could land on a helipad or short runway in remote areas. The XV-15 could cruise like a conventional airplane, powered by two Lycoming LTC1K-4K free turbine engines, at speeds of up to 345 mph. It was able to carry payloads of approximately 2900 pounds and in its aircraft mode use half the fuel consumed by a standard helicopter, which made it economical to operate.

After many years in military service the basic concept of the XV-15 is now being developed into the first tilt rotor for civilian use. The nine passenger Bell Agusta 609 aircraft is scheduled for delivery in 2007 and the potential of an aircraft with these maneuvering abilities will be of incalculable service to the traveling public.

NASA 702 and 703 Tilt rotor aircraft The development of the XV-15 Tilt rotor research aircraft was initiated with joint Army/NASA funding as a "proof of concept", or "technology demonstrator" program, with two aircraft being built by Bell Helicopter Textron (BHT). Ship number 1 was given NASA number 702, and ship #2 was 703.

In true NASA tradition, transfer of the XV-15 to the National Air and Space Museum is a gift of returning aerospace achievements back to the American public, according to Dr. Victor Lebacqz, Acting Associate Administrator for NASA's Office of Aerospace Technology.

Over 3 million people a year are expected to tour the Udvar-Hazy Center to see the XV-15 and many of the other NASA contributions. The new center, part of the National Air and Space Museum, is scheduled to open around the middle of December.

For further information please visit:
John F. Kennedy Space Center