Bell, a global technology company, is developing a world-first piece of technology that it says will revolutionize helicopter aviation.
The ground-breaking, Electrically Distributed Anti-Torque (EDAT) system is set to provide radical enhancements in on the ground and bystander safety, operating and maintenance costs and noise reduction.
Bell’s EDAT technology, which is currently under development and being tested on a demonstrator aircraft at Bell’s facility in Mirabel, Canada, replaces the traditional single tail rotor with a cluster of four individual fans.
Each of the four fans is separately powered by its own electric motor and they operate independently, running at a constantly changing rpm.
The anti-torque system on a helicopter controls the direction in which the nose of the aircraft points. The EDAT system carried out the same purpose but in a more cost-effective, quieter way. Meanwhile, the EDAT fans automatically stop when the craft is on the ground, improving safety for anyone close to the helicopter.
The EDAT system’s four fans, which each have four blades, are powered by electrical energy generated by the aircraft’s turbine engines.
This effectively negates the need for all of the traditional mechanical anti-torque components on a helicopter. Bell has been able to remove gearboxes, driveshafts and tail rotor hub and blades. This not only saves weight, making the helicopter more efficient, but also saves on wear & tear costs, while the simpler, fly-by-wire electrical system should reduce operating costs.
For more than 80 years, Bell has been reimagining the experience of flight - and where it can take us. Bell was the first to break the sound barrier and to certify a commercial helicopter. Bell is a part of NASA’s first lunar mission and brought advanced tiltrotor systems to market.
Headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas, as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Textron Inc., Bell has strategic locations around the globe.