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Helicopters

Following on from driving tests that wound up in December last year, the Black Knight Transformer prototype demonstrator has taken to the air for the first time. California-based Advanced Tactics, Inc., announced its vehicle, which combines the capabilities of a helicopter and an off-road vehicle, completed its first flight tests last month, being remotely piloted at an undisclosed location in Southern California. Read More
Helicopters and other rotorcraft are impressive bits of technology, but the only place where they match the performance of fixed-wing aircraft is in bad 1980s television. That may soon change with DARPA announcing the selection of four companies to compete in the next phase of its Vertical Take Off and Landing Experimental Plane (VTOL X-Plane) program. The four companies are tasked with developing unmanned demonstrator aircraft designed to increase the performance of VTOL rotor aircraft while reducing their complexity. Read More
Helicopters are an invaluable military resource for transporting supplies, carrying out surveillance and reconnaissance, and evacuating casualties from rugged terrain. Unfortunately, they are also a finite resource. That's why DARPA is looking to share the load with the Aerial Reconfigurable Embedded System (ARES) concept, a compact, high-speed and highly-automated delivery system with vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) capabilities. Read More
When someone mentions flying cars it conjures up images of a sporty little number that takes to the air like something out of the Jetsons. But what about one that’s a cross between a 4x4, an octocopter, and a Blackhawk helicopter? That’s what Advanced Tactics of El Segundo, California is seeing with its ambitions to produce a roadable VTOL aircraft capable of unmanned autonomous operations as a more flexible way to recover casualties, move supplies, and support special forces. Read More
E-volo recently celebrated the maiden launch of its electric two-passenger, 18-rotor VC200 "Volocopter," touting the vehicle's safety and simplicity after an indoor flight inside the Dm-arena in Karlsruhe, Germany on November 17. While the copter is similar in form to both quadcopters and helicopters, the company resists the helicopter label, pointing out the numerous radically different safety and design choices that set the vehicle apart. Read More
The Hirobo stand at the International Robotics Exhibition in Tokyo this week was full of surprises. The first was the appearance of the HX-1 unmanned electric helicopter, due to go into production before the end of the year, but an even bigger surprise was in store when you opened the brochure – details of the company's planned personal (manned) BIT electric micro helicopter. Read More
The next-generation MQ-8C Fire Scout unmanned helicopter has taken to the air for the first time at Naval Base Ventura County in California. Built by Northrop Grumman around a Bell 407 helicopter, the MQ-8C is designed to boast twice the endurance and three times the payload capacity of the MQ-8B variant that has clocked up over 5,000 flight hours in Afghanistan. Read More
Certainly one of the more intriguing things on display at this year's Paris Air Show, the Sherpa by Belgian startup Sagita aims to make the helicopter simpler, more efficient, more reliable and more affordable. The helicopter's rotors are directly driven by turbines which are themselves powered by hot air and fumes from the helicopter's power plant. Sagita claims that this makes the the aircraft approximately 85 percent efficient while doing away with the need for a tail rotor. Read More
Namco Bandai subsidiary CCP toys has launched its Nano-Falcon remote-controlled helicopter toy, which it claims is the world's smallest. The Nano-Falcon, which is designed for indoor flight, has a body size of just 6.5 cm (2.5 in) long and weighs a scant 11 g (0.38 oz). The infrared controller, which takes four AA alkaline batteries, has a range of just 5 m (16 ft), which may be a good thing, lest you lose sight of it! Read More
Eurocopter has announced a new pair of speed records set by its hybrid helicopter demonstrator, the X3. Piloted by Hervé Jammayrac, the X3 reached a level flight speed of 255 knots over the south of France on June 7, eclipsing the 250 knots (463 km/h) set by Sikorsky's X2 demonstrator back in 2010. The X3 reached 263 knots several days beforehand, achieved during a dive rather than level flight, also besting the X2's record in descent – by a single knot. Read More
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