8 hours ago
Wednesday, November 7, 2012
Found this picture of a K-MAX Helicopter over at Militaryphotos.net. I thought I knew most helicopters, but I didn't recognize this one. It's made by Kaman Corporation in Conneticut. It was designed to lift heavy external loads, which means it carries whatever it is slung from a cable hung from its belly. It can lift three tons, which is more than the helicopter itself weighs. The marines are using it to deliver supplies to combat posts in Afghanistan and they seem to be very happy with it. Kaman has added remote controls to it, so it can be flown unmanned. It has two, contra-rotating propellers which eliminates the need for a tail rotor, but does require a more complex gear box. Wikipedia has an interesting comment on the gear box: "The transmission has a reduction ratio of 24 in three stages, and is designed for infinite life." Infinite life, eh? I like that.