Manufacturer: Boeing / Bell

Model: unknown

Name: PLR (Power Lift Rotorcraft)

Type: VTOL transport

Date: 1978

Status: Experimental

Country: United States

Service: U.S. Army

Designation: XV-16A


Contrary to popular belief, The V-22 Osprey is not the first joint effort by Bell and Boeing. In 1976, Boeing Vertol teamed up with Bell's Helicopter Division on a proposal for the Army's PLR (Power Lift Rotorcraft) program. Designated XV-16A in the VTOL series, this clean-looking and able performer combined Boeing's experience with transport helicopters and Bell's expertise in VTOL, in this case capitalizing on the tilt-duct research that culminated in the highly successful X-22A prototype a decade before. The PLR program was canceled despite a successful two-year evaluation phase because it was found that its advantages did not outweigh the 35% increase in costs from operating it instead of a conventional Chinook.


Despite the apparent simplicity of it, that was quite a difficult image to come up with! I used the picture of a Boeing Vertol CH-47D Chinook HC.2 helicopter on the grass and combined it with one of the Bell X-22 quad-tilt-duct prototype.

Removing the helo's rotors and redrawing the top fuselage was the easy part. Harder was the reworking of the tail fin to make it look camouflaged in the same color as the fuselage. Harder still was the insertion of the names, logos and markings (which I still don't find completely satisfactory). I realize there is one element I took from yet another aircraft, and that is the engine intake at the rear, but I don't recall where that was from at the moment!

Being in effect an X-22 with a new fuselage, the project itself seems extremely viable as a VTOL troop carrier for the Army and Marines to drop and retrieve soldiers in difficult combat settings. However, the advantage over classic helicopters such as the Chinook remains to be seen, and that is probably the reason why such aircraft have never made it to the operational stage.

Viewers' comments:
  • After seeing the XV-16A picture I thought 'Oh, Stéphane has stopped what-ifing'. But it seems this was not at all a true prototype! I have been completely fooled, wonderfully wrong! One more fake success! (Tophe)
  • Very Cool. Why does this look like it came from Thunderbirds? Keep up the great Work & hope to see more from You. (Cobra)
  • Very neat, Stéphane, but you should give it wings like the Model 347, too. (Logan Hartke)
  • Very enjoyable and there were a multitude of Bell efforts that would have come off very close to that. Thanks for my new desk top background. (Yasotay)
  • You did a outstanding job on fitting it all together and have it look like the aircraft was like that all along. I can definitely see the X-22 influences as well as the Chinook's. (ONI-Defense)
  • I love this blending of the Chinook and the X-22. It looks great and really looks like it could work. Your blending ability is just outstanding. I always thought it was a shame that more wasn't done with the X-22. That too looked like it had real potential for an operational version. Keep up the great work! (dinobatfan)
  • Meh, I honestly think the photoshop could have been better. I love the concept, though! (imachrismoose)
  • Wow, you got me good! XD (SomeRandomMinion)
  • Super cool! (Waldo ChayneSaw Pepper)
  • brilliantly realised Stephane, no wonder some of your work is thought of as 'real' unknown prototypes by some enthusiasts ;) (Joe Warner)

My comments: