Studies, development and construction of the experimental "Bella-1" aircraft model for unprepared airfields took more than 10 years. The aircraft is designed for operations in
the Arctic regions, Siberia and the Far East of Russia in order to provide more transport efficiency than light airplanes and helicopters that are currently in use.
Off-field aircraft "Bella-1" is designed for:
5-6 passengers transportation at the distance of 1000 km with the high level of comfort;
deliveries of various cargoes from "door to door";
"Bella-1" aircraft will ensure:
air connection not only between major cities and regional centers, equipped with airfields, but connection with any remote place that has no airstrips of any kind;
requirements of the Ministries of Defense, Internal Affairs, Emergency Situations, Health, Boarder control especially in hard to reach places;
development of oil and gas fields, geological prospecting, shift teams deliveries, patrolling and servicing of oil and gas pipelines and the likes with minimal transportation
business requirements as an administrative, business or private plane, as well as advancement of tourism.
The ability of the plane to conduct landings and takeoffs from any natural terrain (lake, river, swamp, field) in any time of the year saves much time in transporting passengers
Considering the ability of non-airfield operations of "Bella-1' aircraft on one hand, and tremendous need in air transports on the local airlines in the Arctic regions, Siberia and the Far East
where up to 80% of the energy resources are concentrated, on the other hand, the order forecast for "Bella-1" might reach several thousand pieces in the nearest future.
"Bella-1" plane project came into being due to the necessity to reduce the operational costs by the way of excluding airfields from the air service infrastructure.
In the Arctic regions, Siberia and the Far East of Russia airfield costs reach over 70% out of the total aircraft maintenance costs. That is one reason. On the other hand in the specified regions
at any season there are numerous natural flat airstrips in the form of lakes, rivers, marshes, fields, etc.
Nowadays all traditional airplanes and helicopters can not be operated from natural airstrips in this regions without change of landing devices and special runways.
For example, the well-known Russian AN-2 aircraft has three changeable takeoff and landing devices: wheel, ski and hydrofloat. The first two require runways.
Depending on the time of the year a helicopter also needs change of takeoff and landing devices. Furthermore, a helicopter can not land on marshy surface without a special runway as well as on
deep snow and high grass due to the negative wing-in-ground effect.
Change of takeoff and landing devices and preparation of runways requires tremendous operational expenses which minimizes the transport effectiveness of an aircraft.
All attempts to install on an airplane additional takeoff and landing devices (eg. wheel landing gear on a hydroplane) increase the dead load and lower its transport efficiency.
The design of "Bella-1" excludes all these drawbacks. It can make takeoff and landing from/on any flat natural surface at any time of the year. There is no need to change its takeoff and landing
devices. Furthermore, this plane is less sensible to weather conditions such as wind direction and visibility. It can move as a plane, as an air cushion aircraft as well as accomplish short
takeoff and landing.
In 1994 after completion of scientific and research stage of works (theoretical calculations and wind tunnel blowdown) a prototype of such an aircraft was built.
In the course of 2 years, firstly, factory bench running was conducted and then the initial stage of flight tests: speed runs and approaches in the most natural settings such as snow-covered field,
frozen river, water and bottom land in summer time.
The aircraft demonstrated high takeoff and landing abilities and confirmed the wind tunnel test results and all calculations.
The aircraft received patents in Russia, USA and Germany with a status of a Russian invention and industrial prototype.
Aircraft's design and features
The plane is built according to "all wing" scheme with the tail section of extended surface and pilot-passenger cabin in the front.
The main part of the aircraft is the diskshaped centerplane with the central tunnel where the cargo cabin and propeller system are located.
The cantilevered wing parts are positioned on each side of the centerplane.
Takeoff and landing device is placed underneath in the shape of inflatable landing torus which serves as an enclosure for air cushion, wheel and ski bearers and gliding surfaces: redan under
pilot-passenger cabin and hydraulic wing behind the centerplane.
This universal takeoff and landing device makes possible any off-field operations from water, marshy and snow covered surfaces, any ground.
Located at the rear end of the centerplane propulsion propeller engines produce steady air stream on the tail section thus increasing aircraft's reliability and safety in various flight modes and
in case of engine failure.
The aircraft has the following features:
availability of the propeller engine along with the propulsion engine ultimately results in shorter takeoff and landing;
diskshaped centerplane serves not only as a cargo area but creates aerodynamic ascensional force during flight;
the glider is almost totally made of composite materials with the use of three layered wraps with foam and honeycomb fillers, that 1,5-2 times bring down the dead load in
comparison with metal structures;
separate cargo cabin along with pilot-passenger one excludes all costs for converting the latter into cargo cabin;
availability of the universal takeoff and landing device makes any seasonal changes unnecessary;
outer cantilevered wing parts can be folded which makes possible its transportation by land or by air.
Performance and economic evaluation
Major parameters of the performance-economic evaluation of "Bella-1" aircraft are the period of investments pay-back and expected profit. Pay-back time and profit value depend on the following:
aircraft's operational conditions;
load and type of work performed by aircraft;
number of trial aircraft built.
Thus, all money invested in the development and construction of the trial aircraft will soon be paid back due to the fact that "Bella-1" aircraft will be operated in harsh
climatic and geographical conditions of the North, Siberia and the Far East of Russia, when conventional runways will be covered with water, snow or ice. The analysis of the performance and
economic efficiency shows that airport costs could be cut down up to 70%.
Availability of the pilot-passenger and cargo cabins, off-field and multi-mode operations make this aircraft 100% business occupied. In addition its multiple functions (eg. passenger and cargo
transportation, patrolling, search and rescue operations in hard to reach places) will make it possible to get a quick investments return.