Spotted: Tiltrotor hovering above Menlo Park – in prep for President Obama’s visit?
First a confession: We had never heard of a tiltrotor until we took a photo of a very loud aircraft hovering in the vicinity of Bay Laurel and Cotton in Menlo Park this afternoon. We, in fact, thought it was a helicopter, and, given that it was accompanied by another large (though smaller) helicopter, we figured they were on an advance scout for President Obama’s visit to Stanford University on Friday.
A little reading on Wikipedia has us straightened out. Re Tiltrotor: “A tiltrotor is an aircraft which generates lift and propulsion by way of one or more powered rotors (sometimes called proprotors) mounted on rotating engine pods or nacelles usually at the ends of a fixed wing or an engine mounted in the fuselage with drive shafts transferring power to rotor assemblies mounted on the wingtips. It combines the vertical lift capability of a helicopter with the speed and range of a conventional fixed-wing aircraft. ”
And as for what kind of helicopter the President flies in: “Marine One is the call sign of any United States Marine Corps aircraft carrying the President of the United States. It usually denotes a helicopter operated by Marine Helicopter Squadron One (HMX-1 ‘Nighthawks’), either the large VH-3D Sea King or the newer, smaller VH-60N ‘WhiteHawk’.”