By Eberhard Moller, Werner Brack
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Additional resources for The Encyclopedia of U-Boats From 1904 to the Present
The company also manufactured sixty-five units of the company-funded R-5B, with a cockpit modified to seat three passengers behind a forward pilot position. Engineers and pilots quickly recognized the inadequacy of the power-to-weight ratio of the R-4, especially after the addition of radio equipment and bomb racks. This realization engendered ideas for a more powerful, streamlined helicopter, which resulted in the XR-6 design. S. Navy saved the new helicopter. Navy planners envisioned future requirements for a still larger and more powerful helicopter and agreed to fund half the development costs of the XR-6.
Takeoffs, however, required a short runway to attain flying speed. De la Cierva’s autogyro was not a true helicopter, but his contribution to rotorcraft control systems was nonetheless significant. Some aviation scholars consider the first flight of the autogyros almost as momentous as the Wright brothers’ success at Kitty Hawk. In 1924, Dr. Heinrich Focke and George Wulf formed a new aircraft firm in Germany. One of the nation’s most brilliant aeronautical engineers, Focke possessed a doctorate in engineering, and Wulf was a veteran test pilot.
Focke defined his design objectives to eliminate several major limitations of previous helicopters, and his conclusions are still relevant to contemporary helicopter production. He outlined a plan to study the theoretical aspects of rotary-wing flight and to develop test models to verify his concepts. Only after intense testing would construction of a full-size helicopter begin (Ross 1953, 63–64). Focke realized that autogyro technology was the starting point for his endeavor. Unfortunately, Focke-Wulf ’s license from de la Cierva granted rights only to manufacturing, not to Cierva’s theoretical data.
The Encyclopedia of U-Boats From 1904 to the Present by Eberhard Moller, Werner Brack