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— Aircraft

Hirobo unveils HX-1 unmanned electric helicopter, and promises a manned model

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
— Aircraft

Sagita's hot air-powered Sherpa rethinks the ultra-light helicopter

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
— Children

Is this the world's smallest RC helicopter toy?

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
— Aircraft

Speed record: Eurocopter X3 hits 255 knots

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
— Aircraft

Bell unveils V-280 Valor tiltrotor concept for U.S. Army program

Bell Helicopter has thrown its tiltrotor hat into the ring for the U.S. Army’s Joint Multi Role (JMR)/Future Vertical Lift (FVL) program with the unveiling of its V-280 Valor tiltrotor concept at the 2013 Army Aviation Association of America's (AAAA) Annual Professional Forum and Exposition in Fort Worth, Texas. The aircraft is up against an X2-based design from Boeing and Sikorsky, a coaxial design from AVX Aircraft, and a still unknown proposal from EADS. Read More
— Robotics

Pars aerial robot delivers a payload of life preservers to drowning victims

If current technology trends are any indication, it's possible that human lifeguards could be replaced by robots in the future. So far, we've seen a remote-controlled rescue buoy and a salamander-like bot that travels on both water and land, among many others. Rather than having to cut through rough water to get to folks in trouble like many search and rescue robot designs, an Iranian research center proposes a quadcopter called Pars that launches from a floating platform and drops life preservers precisely where they're needed. Read More
— Aircraft

Crowdfunding hope for human-powered helicopter project

Last September, the Gamera II team from the A. James Clark School of Engineering got so close to claiming the Sikorsky Prize of US$250,000 for human-powered helicopter flight that the American Helicopter Society must surely have been preparing to pull the dust covers off the safe and hand over the cash. Gamera II features a huge cross-shaped frame with enormous rotors at each of its four points, which are powered by sustained hand and foot pumping from a pilot at the center. It's a design that's been used by many of those attempting to nab the elusive prize (including AeroVelo's Atlas), but Georgia's Kenneth Huff has a rather more compact vision for success. Read More
— Drones

FAA grants Arlington Police Department permission to fly UAVs

Starting in April, 2013, the Arlington Texas police department will have permission from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration to fly two small helicopter UAVs over the city in certain situations, including taking crime scene photos or looking for missing persons. While these UAVs have been operating for some time, until now flights have been restricted to remote testing area. Read More