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Kaman K-MAX

Flying crane

Kaman K-MAX

The Kaman K-MAX flying crane can lift more payload than its own weight

 
 
Entered service 1994
Crew 1 men
Dimensions and weight
Length 15.85 m
Rotor diameter 14.73 m
Height 4.14 m
Weight (empty) 2.33 t
Weight (maximum take off) 5.44 t
Engines and performance
Engines 1 x Honeywell T53-17A turboshaft
Engine power 1 349 shp
Maximum speed 185 km/h
Cruising speed 148 km/h
Service ceiling 4.57 km
Range 556 km
Payload
Maximum payload 2.72 t

 

   The Kaman K-MAX is a syncrocopter with intermeshing rotors, manufactured by Kaman Aerospace Company, at the company's facilities in the USA. Its company designation is the K-1200. The first flight of the K-MAX took place in 1992. It is a single-engine and single-seat helicopter, optimized for external load operations. The Kaman K-MAX can carry suspended loads of over 2 700 kg. It is in service with various civil operators around the world and is used for construction, forestry, logging, agricultural work, firefighting and transportation. This helicopter was designed mainly for civilian applications, however there were many instances when it was employed by the military. In 1995 the US Navy used the K-MAX in the vertical replenishment demonstration program. This syncrocopter has been used by the United States Navy in Guam and Arabian Gulf. Also The Royal Malaysian Air Force has deployed the K-MAX for firefighting missions. Five K-MAX helicopters are being operated by the Columbian military, in support of US government-sponsored counter-drug operations.

   The K-MAX helicopter has an unusual design with intermeshing rotors. It is worth mentioning, that the world's first mass produced helicopter, the Flettner FL282 Kolibri was of the same type. Therefore this is a traditional configuration, but now only Kaman can produce this type and the K-MAX is the latest model in a long line of Kaman syncrocopters. Another helicopter of the same design, the Kaman H-43 Huskie, was used by the US Air Force, US Navy and US Marine Corps in the 1950s through 1970s. Currently the Huskie is being used by the Kaman company for training pilots of the K-MAX, though it is not in production any more.

   The Kaman K-MAX helicopter is of light alloy construction and is of simple and robust design. The blades and flaps are of high-strength carbon and glass fibre-reinforced plastic materials. The engine drives two pairs of intermeshing and contra-rotating rotor blades. Two rotors are connected by gears in transmission, so the rotors never hit each other. Also there is no tail rotor. This helicopter is fitted with fixed tricycle-type landing gear. Shape of the helicopter is designed so that the pilot can have an excellent view down. It can operate in day or night conditions.

   The K-MAX syncrocopter has two main advantages over conventional helicopters. The syncrocopters are more efficient than helicopters with other rotor-lift technology. Furthermore these have a natural  tendency to hover, which increases stability, especially for precision work in placing suspended loads. Also the syncrocopers are more responsive to pilot control inputs.

   In March 2007 Kaman and Lockheed Martin announced a partnership to develop a manned and unmanned version of K-MAX for military applications. Lockheed Martin will be the prime contractor. The K-MAX has demonstrated more than 12 hours unmanned flight during trial with the USMC in Burro Technology Demonstration. In 2008 an unmanned remotelly-controlled prototype was revealed. It is intended for potential military resupply use. It could be used in combat situations to deliver supplies to the battlefield as well as operate in contaminated areas.

 

Zaal Tchkuaseli

   Article by ZAAL TCHKUASELI

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Video of the Kaman K-MAX flying crane

 
Kaman K-MAX

Kaman K-MAX

Kaman K-MAX

Kaman K-MAX

Kaman K-MAX

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