Aug 312011

While in a hospital (yay!) parking lot today, I saw a Kaman K-MAX fly overhead. I’ve never seen one of them anywhere near close-up, so I tracked where it was going… straight to the Logan airport. So I wandered over, got permission from the pilot (flying from Florida to a forest fire up north of here somewhere) to photograph it, and here ya go.

 Posted by at 11:25 pm
  • Pat Flannery

    The intermeshing rotors concept goes way back:

  • JP

    It looks like it only has room for the pilot, is that the case? Approach from the front, good advice.

    • admin

      Yes. It was designed specifically to carry external heavy loads, thus there’s little more to it that fuel, power, gearboxes, rotors and a control system (pilot).

  • Nathan

    Great pictures!

  • Tom

    I’ve seen some ugly flying machines in my day, but this one sets a new standard of ugly.

    • Pat Flannery

      Its ancestor was pretty successful, Hawk Model company made a model of it which I used to have:
      They used to make a motorized version too, though I didn’t have that one.
      Motorized copter models can be tricky; I got whacked really good by the rotor blade on the motorized Monogram 1/24th scale Huey when I built it; the rotor was so big it could build up a lot of momentum when it got moving at full speed. 🙂

  • Bob Justice

    I wonder why they don’t have a passenger version?

    • Rich Todd

      Probably because something deep in most people’s brain stems jibbers with fear at the sight of inter-meshed rotors.

      Q: For those more familiar with the concept, what happens if one of your drive-trains fail? Seems like quite soon, both would have failed, negating any benefit of redundancy.

      Seems like it would be something awesome to behold in operation. And failure.

      • admin

        > what happens if one of your drive-trains fail

        My understanding is that the gearbox is a beast. Losing *one* rotor through the gearbox seems unlikely. A rotor could always break due to enemy fire, armor-plated-birdstrike and the like, but that’d trash *any* helicopter.

    • admin

      There’d be no good reason for a passenger version. The K-MAX is designed specifically for heavy lift, and is quite nimble, but is otherwise relatively slow. Much better helicopters for ferrying passengers. K-MAX has a 6,000 pound payload capability… assuming 300 pounds per passenger (including seats and structure and whatnot), that’d be 20 passengers. But you couldn’t squeeze 20 passengers into anything that could be reasonably built around the K-MAX, so it’d be wasted capability. There are other much more efficient passenger choppers out there.