The Flywing Airwolf
The 1980s TV show Airwolf featured a high-tech military helicopter flown by a sullen ex-Army pilot named Stringfellow Hawke (Jan-Michael Vincent).flywing airwolf But unlike the dull-witted TV cop Murphy from The Six Million Dollar Man, Hawke had a mind of his own. He could also do things with his helicopter that no other chopper had ever done before.
Despite being borderline sci-fi, the helicopter was actually a real-world model.flywing airwolf It was a Bell 222, a twin-turboshaft helicopter with seating for up to 10 passengers including the pilot. The production company that owned the helicopter simply added some film props to it to give it its fictional features. The result was a sleek-looking, fast-flying machine with a stratospheric ceiling, stealth noise signature and a wide array of weapons.
One of the most interesting features of Airwolf was its ability to fly at supersonic speeds without a tail rotor.flywing airwolf The reason was a complex system that synchronized the aircraft’s two turbo-charged engines with the rotating blades. Then when the pilot wanted to go faster, he simply hit a switch that engaged the engines to turn from standard rotary wing flight into “turbo” fixed-wing flight.
Another neat feature of the Airwolf helicopter was its state-of-the-art weaponry, including a belly missile pod capable of firing various rockets including air-to-surface Mavericks and heat-seeking air-to-air Sidewinders.flywing airwolf There was even a specialized radar system that made the chopper nearly invisible to detection by enemy aircraft and ground-based electronic systems.
The problem with all these cool gadgets was that they were also a security risk.flywing airwolf Often, when the chopper was not being used on a mission, it had to be hidden. The chopper was a target for robbers, terrorists and rogue government agencies trying to get their hands on the secrets it contained.
In fact, Hawke was so good at flying the chopper that he got a reputation as an expert on anything related to aviation. This caused him to become a target for blackmailers, especially from those in the CIA inspired agency called The Firm who were itching to have their own high-tech helicopter.
Airwolf had to find creative ways of hiding the chopper, including shooting a training video with it that he and Dom then used to cover up their tracks. But if they were not careful, one overzealous bureaucrat would catch up with them before they knew it.
Several episodes of Airwolf introduced other helicopters that were claimed to be as good or better than the mighty Airwolf. But they never did make it very far because Hawke kept blowing them out of the sky. This was probably because a normal helicopter’s rotors, unlike the turbine engines on the chopper, cannot be spun at supersonic speeds. In addition, the protuberance on the front of the Airwolf was a very weak point in its defenses.