The RACER (Rapid and Cost-Effective Rotorcraft) combines the speed of a fixed-wing aircraft with the vertical advantages of a helicopter. Developed as a project of the European Union’s Clean Sky program, the RACER team also focused on sustainability goals. Plans are for the RACER, with a cruise speed of more than 400 km/h, to be used for search and rescue and transportation in medical emergencies as well as for urban air mobility.
“The RACER is a pretty complex machine with extra components. But despite all that the target is to develop a complete rotorcraft, aiming for demonstrating time-critical missions,” Antonello Marino, project officer at Clean Sky, explained. “A major aspect of the challenge is to reconcile the environmental targets — to reduce CO2 by 20%, NOx by 20% and noise by 20 — without adding weight. We need to add wing boxes and two lateral rotors to achieve the boost in speed, while staying within the weight envelope of a conventional helicopter. This means having to integrate new techno-bricks, lighter materials and innovative thinking.”