Created By: JBridge on April 26, 2010
Troped

Unknown VTOL design

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This specific VTOL design has been used too many times to be a coincidence. Before this gets launched however, it needs three things; a description, a name, and a bit of info. Specifically, what real-life VTOL this is based on.

I made a thread about it on 4chan's weapons board a few days ago, viewable here. Worksafe, aside from a few pottymouths.

Here's an image of the Hornet from Halo 3, for those of you who lack the bandwidth or courage to view the above thread.
Community Feedback Replies: 24
  • April 26, 2010
    SonofRojBlake
    So this trope "only" needs a title, description, and info. So you've supplied what, exactly? ;-) Just kidding.

    Suggested title: Futurecopter.

    Description: You're in an unspecified future, and you need an aircraft capable of short or vertical takeoffs. Helicopters are so 20th century, and in any case they (probably) can't survive being dropped from orbit, because hey, you might need to be dropped from orbit.

    What you need is a futurecopter. These machines come in a variety of sizes, ranging from a one-man unit (with optional handholds on the sides for external passengers), through unmanned autonomous versions (best steer well clear of these) the size of a Hummer, right up to beasts the size of a large bus capable of transporting dozens of fully armed troops complete with ground transport. You might even see dinky sized models about the size of an R/C plane.

    Common features are an ability to demonstrate the flight manoeuvrability of a helicopter, hovering, spinning on the spot, flying sideways etc., potentially space-capable and usually armed to the teeth. They almost invariably have a V-tail, ducted fans for lifting/thrust (one each side of the fuselage, and independently tiltable), and usually either no wings or quite stubby, vestigial wings. Pilot, if present, is invariably right up front in what looks like a conventional helicopter gunship cockpit.

    There are currently no production manned aircraft that look anything like this, for sound aerodynamic and engineering reasons which are unrelated to the Rule Of Cool. Futurecopters are, it goes without saying, cool. They are being developed, however, and at the time of writing (April 2010) probably the nearest to production is the Urban Aeronautics Airmule. One might, with some imagination, consider the V-22 Osprey to be a very primitive version of this idea, although its rotors are firmly locked together and very much not ducted, and it has big, conventional wings.

    Examples, in order of size:
    • In the movie Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines there are small, autonomous Hunter-Killer terminator prototypes which pursue the heroes.
    • In the video game Halo 3 there a one-man aircraft called Hornets, which have external handles allowing other players to hitch a ride.
    • In the movie Avatar, the human forces have helicopter sized ducted-fan gunships.
    • In the movies Terminator and Terminator 2, the full-size, autonomous H-Ks follow the same design. (The first movie may be the design's first appearance in any media).
    • In Aliens, the Colonial Marines' dropship is a fully spaceworthy version of the design.

    (Note: the design is, despite how the above list may make it appear, not exclusive to James Cameron)
  • April 26, 2010
    Arivne
    Additional examples mentioned in the 4chan thread in the OP:

  • April 26, 2010
    SonofRojBlake
    Any examples of the design which predate the first Terminator movie? (1984)
  • April 26, 2010
    Tzetze
    Doesn't look like any tiltrotor that I've seen before, although I'm no expert.
  • April 26, 2010
    gman003
    That's basically a V-22 Osprey with ducted rotors. Look at the X-22 for an example of ducted rotors in a VTOL aircraft, although that design, being from the 60s, doesn't fit this "trope" that well.
  • April 26, 2010
    Westrim
  • April 26, 2010
    Prfnoff
    Yes, this seems to be about tiltrotors. RealLife/CoolPlane touches on the tiltrotor design being used in "so many games, movies, and toys"; I think troping it would be good.
  • April 27, 2010
    Nomic
  • April 27, 2010
    SonofRojBlake
    I don't think it's quite tiltrotors - pretty much all the designs listed are not rotors, but ducted fans. The Bell X-22 is the closest thing visually, I think.
  • April 27, 2010
    Medinoc
    Big Bad Beetleborgs's ladybug aircraft also fit the trope.
  • April 27, 2010
    Dcoetzee
    Definitely tropable. It's similar to the tiltroter, but sort of a fantastic variation on it. How about Fantastic Tiltroter or something like that?
  • April 27, 2010
    Echidnite
    My vote is definitely for futurecopter - most people aren't going to know what a tiltrotor is. For example, I don't know what that is.
  • April 27, 2010
    Medinoc
    Hey, didn't see the title. Futurecopter is cool.
  • April 27, 2010
    Whitewings
    Vehicles like this are seen in the first episode of Bubblegum Crisis
  • April 27, 2010
    DracMonster
    • Avatar is the poster child for this. Every flying machine is a VTOL.

    EDIT: D'oh! It's in there already! Not reading the whole description FTL.
  • April 27, 2010
    Westrim
    @ Echidnite: It's a rotor... that tilts. Even if you don't know exactly what it is, you have the general idea. A tiltrotor is not a helicopter (due to the rotors being attached to wings, however stubby), so the name Futurecopter would be erroneous.
  • April 27, 2010
    SonofRojBlake
    But the rotors on a Hornet aren't attached to wings. And the Pelican dropship and the Aliens Colonial Marine dropship don't have tiltrotors at all, but I think they're still in the family of this design. The critical features are VTOL flight envelope, V tail (probably), gunship-canopy pilot position... and not much else. Fundamentally they serve the narrative functionof a helicopter, which is why I suggested Futurecopter.
  • April 29, 2010
    JBridge
    Is this ready for launch, or does it need a bit more time in the oven?
  • May 4, 2010
    SonofRojBlake
    Looks ready to me. One more example, again from Halo: the Pelican dropship is a pretty close cousin of the dropship from Aliens, and is similarly orbital-drop capable.
  • May 7, 2010
    Echidnite
    You can work out Tiltrotor's meaning from context, but the name doesn't bring flying machines to mind by itself, since rotor can refer to so many things. But if a lot of people find it easy to understand, the no worries. I just enjoy the catchiness of Futurecopter.
  • May 8, 2010
    JoveHack
    One of the trailers for the Beyond Good And Evil sequel
  • May 8, 2010
    joeyjojo
    flying machines? what happen to aircraft? :)
  • May 25, 2010
    SonofRojBlake
    Anyone launching this copter?
  • December 24, 2010
    Medinoc
    I'll launch this soon as Future Copter unless an objection is raised.
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