Carter Aviation Technologies, An Aerospace Research & Development Company


CarterCopter Technology Demonstrator


The CarterCopter Technology Demonstrator (CCTD) was our first prototype, and the first aircraft in history to reach µ-1. We flew the aircraft from 1998 through 2005, learning many valuable lessons over that time about the technologies and methods needed to flight at high speed with a slowed rotor. These lessons were critical to the success of our later prototypes.

The historic µ-1 flight took place on June 17, 2005, while flight-testing for a U.S. Army contract out of Olney Airport in Texas. Carter was conducting several flights to collect data on a newly developed speed controller for the rotor. Initial flights had already demonstrated the rotor to be very stable as the rpm was decreased. On this flight, as test pilot, Larry Neal, approached μ-1 and all systems remained stable, the decision was made to proceed to μ-1, which was achieved at 7:40 AM. Data from the flight shows that the airspeed was 170 mph and the rotor was slowed to 107 rpm giving a μ value of 1. Previously, the lowest rotor speed achieved was 115 rpm. The μ-1 flight time was just 1.5 seconds before Neal reduced the throttle to slow the aircraft, but the aircraft was operated continuously above μ 0.9 for over 20 seconds, and the high μ flight was accomplished without incident. The pilots commented that the aircraft was so smooth that there was no vibration or noise to indicate that they were in a rotary wing aircraft, let alone one flying at 170 mph with the rotor slowed to 107 rpm.

CarterCopter Brochure

Some of the noteable accomplishments from the flight testing program include:

  • First and only aircraft to achieve μ-1
  • L/D of 7 @ 170 mph - twice as efficient as best pure (non compound) helicopters
  • 150+ flying hours
  • 1000+ takeoffs and landings
  • Demonstration of zero roll takeoffs & landings
  • 10,000 ft altitude
  • 173 mph