§ 2. Mr. Dodds
asked the Minister of Supply what progress has been made in the production of a 23-seater aircraft which embodies characteristics of a helicopter and a fixed-wing aeroplane; what are the special features of the aircraft; and if it is to be used in the proposed helicopter passenger network in this country.
§ Mr. Sandys
The hon. Member is, I believe, referring to the Fairey rotodyne principle. This uses turbine compressors to feed air to jet propulsion units mounted on the tips of rotor blades. These provide lift for ascent and descent. Far forward flight, the air is fed into turbo-propeller engines mounted on small wings —the rotor being left free to auto-rotate. By this method it is hoped to combine the manoeuvrability of a helicopter with the higher cruising speeds of a fixed-wing aircraft. This work is still in the early development stage.