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Looking Back: Distortion

Van Nuys, California—Although the camera lens distortion makes it look like a protective umbrella over the U.S. Army Cheyenne combat helicopter, the pictured 25-foot (7.5-meter) long rotor blade is actually only 28 inches (71 centimeters) wide. Almost undetectable to the untrained eye, blade twist, taper, and camber—a new rotary wing design combination—are expected to greatly improve the helicopter’s flight performance. Seen in the Cheyenne’s blade shade at Lockheed’s Van Nuys, California plant, flight-test engineer Jim Upton takes a long look from the thick rotor root to the thin tip. 

Source: Page 31, “Distortion,” Army Aviation, Vol. 18, No. 3, Army Aviation Publications, Inc., Westport, Ct., March 31, 1969.