Effect of advanced technology on rotorcraft operating costs

by Kenneth Amer, Dave J. Dreyfuss

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Operating costs of current rotorcraft are about three to four times those of turboprop aircraft. Such high operating costs inhibit the growth of rotorcraft utilization, in spite of their greater convenience. A study was conducted to investigate the effect of projected advances in rotorcraft technology on operating costs. The results of the study indicate that projected improvements in technology, particularly in empty-weight fraction and in engine-specific fuel consumption, are predicted to reduce rotorcraft operating costs to about two (for tilt rotor) to three (for helicopter) times those of turboprop aircraft. Such reduced operating costs of rotorcraft may make them competitive with turboprop aircraft because of the rotorcrafts reduced ground travel coupled with a reduction in the need for new airports.

Originally published in: AHS 51st Annual Forum, 1995, pp. 1-8.

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