Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

VTOL

Eagle Eye VTOL AUV First Flight

January 26, 2006 Bell Helicopter’s TR918 Eagle Eye Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) lifted off the ground for the first time yesterday, hovered for nine minutes, executed yaw and translation manoeuvres and then landed safely. It then undertook a second flight within 30 minutes of the maiden flight's landing. We have previously written about the TR918 here - the Eagle Eye uses the same tiltrotor system as a number of other Bell-Boeing VTOL designs, most notably the V-22 Osprey (Bell - Boeing)and the Quad TiltRotor.  Read More

The Snark - the meanest VTOL UAV on the planet

October 29, 2005 Meet the Snark – an Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle of immense capability that demonstrates just how far the breed has come in such a short period of time. Constructed mainly of Carbon Fibre and Kevlar, the Snark is light and fast (280 km/h), quiet (special rotor blades make it extremely quiet ), virtually invisible to radar or infrared detetection (it recycles its exhaust gases and emits little heat) and can carry a payload of 680kg, offering the ability to pack both massive firepower (enough to sink a ship) and surveillance equipment (such as high res infrared cameras with a magnification of 7500). But wait, there’s more, and this is the clincher. The Snark is the first UAV that runs on diesel fuel, which means it can be easily integrated into any military force – current UAVs require their own special fuel supply to be transported with them whereas the entire US Army plans to run on a single one fuel - diesel. Last and probably most importantly, the Snark can stay airborne for 24 hours at a time, offering an unprecedented loiter time for a machine of this capability.  Read More

Mobile helicopter landing and maintenance facility

October 15, 2005 Australia’s vast distances, harsh climate and isolated communities present major challenges for companies delivering vital services like electricity. To help in this environment, Brisbane-based Aeropower has developed a Volvo 380hp FM9 truck into a mobile helicopter landing and maintenance facility. Aeropower’s Volvo-based mobile facilities for its fleet of Hughes MD500 helicopters plays an essential role in the aerial survey and maintenance of high voltage power transmission lines by providing not only a safer, elevated landing platform for its helicopter crew, but also fuel, water and maintenance provisions to maximise operating efficiency in the field.  Read More

Airscooter develops petrol and electric coaxial rotor UAVs

October 5, 2005 Innovative air vehicle developer AirScooter has featured in Gizmag previously with its AirScooter II, a vehicle we dubbed, “The Helicopter for the Home.” Things have been moving quickly for the company in recent times, with several patented and patent-pending aeronautical products being developed to employ coaxial rotor technology. These products include a high-performance AirScout 70” Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) and an electric powered UAV, both targeted at the commercial and military markets.  Read More

US$3.5 million Skycar goes on sale

October 3, 2005 Neiman Marcus, the specialty retailer renowned for its unique luxurious offerings, never fails to make available some delectable big toys for big boys and girls when it unveils its annual Christmas Catalogue. In recent years we’ve seen the Neiman Marcus Christmas Book offer a Custom Designed Mermaid Suit, a Dodge 500hp Tomahawk motorcycle and even the first commercially-available Deep Flight Aviator, but the 79th Annual Christmas catalogue has exceeded all previous efforts by putting the M400 Moller Skycar Prototype on sale – it’ll set you back just US$3.5 million but what the heck! Other fantasy gifts for the person who dares to dream big included in the 2005 book include a His & Hers Photo Booth, an NM Edition Lexus GS 450h (in 2003, the limited edition BMW 645Ci sold out in seven minutes), a Dreamboat levitating sculpture with "no visible means of support," a Grand Empire Railroad, and a replica of the 2005 Indianapolis 500 Mile Race winning car with flat-screen monitor, IndyCar Series 2005 video game and all related electronics.  Read More

Advanced Tandem Rotor Helicopter (ATRH) contract for JHL program

September 24, 2005 The U.S. Army has awarded a second contract to perform conceptual design and analysis of a vertical-takeoff-and-landing concept for the Joint Heavy Lift (JHL) program. One contract, worth US$3.4 million, goes to Boeing Phantom Works for its Advanced Tandem Rotor Helicopter (ATRH). Boeing proposed the ATRH in the Army's low-speed category, which is for vehicles that fly between 160 and 200 knots. As previously reported, the other contract, worth US$3.45 million, was awarded to the Bell Helicopter - Boeing Phantom Works team for the QuadTiltrotor (QTR) aircraft, which was entered in the high-speed category of 250 knots or more. The Boeing Advanced Tandem Rotor Helicopter exploits the system maturity, the extraordinary VTOL cargo-handling versatility and the unsurpassed maritime suitability of the tandem rotor platform, which uses two equally-sized rotors that spin in opposite directions for lift.  Read More

Quad TiltRotor (QTR) aircraft development contract awarded

September 24, 2005 The team of Bell Helicopter and Boeing has been awarded a $3.45 million contract by the U.S. Army to perform conceptual design and analysis of its Quad TiltRotor (QTR) aircraft for the Joint Heavy Lift (JHL) Program. "The Bell Boeing team is exceptionally pleased to have been one of the teams chosen by the Joint Service Team to take the first step in providing a truly transformational vertical lift cargo aircraft," said Mike Redenbaugh, chief executive officer of Bell Helicopter. "The critical need for long range, high speed, heavy lift without access to runways is being highlighted around the world every day."  Read More

Your own helicopter for under US$20,000

September 21, 2005 Flying is not a sport generally associated with those people who are light of wallet – which makes the Mosquito Ultralight helicopter something of a rarity. The entire kit for the Mosquito can be purchased for US$20,000 and if you think the minimalist Mosquito leaves you a bit vulnerable, there’s the fully enclosed Mosquito XE and XEL which can be purchased for US$23,000 apeice. Building the kits will cost you about 200 to 300 hours to build or you can have the plane built for you for a flat US$4000. Getting airborn for under US$20,000 in your own, new helicopter is quite a feat – we’re not aware of any other helicopter in this price category and on top of that, both Mosquito variants offer very low maintenance and operating costs.  Read More

AH-64D Apache Longbow gets new Arrowhead system

September 19, 2005 Lockheed Martin has delivered the first eight Arrowhead systems for the U.S. Army's Modernized Target Acquisition and Designation Sight/Pilot Night Vision Sensor (M-TADS/PNVS) program. The Arrowhead unit provides the most advanced electro-optical targeting and pilotage system available to AH-64D Apache Longbow helicopter crews for maximizing safe flight in day, night and adverse-weather environments. Arrowhead continues a 23-year legacy of serving as the "eyes" of the Army's AH-64 Apache attack helicopter with the first fielding of the current TADS/PNVS in 1983. Arrowhead's newly designed FLIR sensors and avionics use leading-edge image processing techniques to give pilots the best possible resolution to avoid obstacles such as wires and tree limbs during low-level flight.  Read More

BAE VTOL UAV impresses in autonomous tests

September 7, 2005 BAE Systems has achieved its first autonomous, untethered flight of its third-generation ducted-fan unmanned aerial vehicle. The company's vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) air vehicle completed a course of 10 waypoints at BAE Systems' Southern California flight test facility. The seven-minute flight of the IAV2 ducted-fan air vehicle demonstrated a pre-programmed flight plan that included automatic takeoff, waypoint navigation with multiple groundspeeds and altitudes, and loitering and automatic landing. The demonstration flight was achieved just 10 days after the air vehicle's first flight and was the 14th flight of the IAV2. Flights were conducted at temperatures of up to 109 degrees, equating to density altitudes approaching 7,000 feet, in winds of nearly 15 knots.  Read More

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