It’s official: Jay Carter, who’s unique compound helicopter/aircraft designs for the general aviation market have been a fixture at Oshkosh events for years but never quite ready for prime time, has gained a whole lotta clout.
Carter is now tightly coupled to the future of unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) giant AAI, a subsidiary of Textron Systems. AAI builds the Shadow UAV and other systems for the US military. The single-engine Shadow family has accumulated more than 450,000 flght hours for a variety of military operators.
The two signed an agreement on Monday giving AAI the rights to Carter’s slowed rotor / compound (SR/C) intellectual property for UAVs, and Carter gets Textron (which includes AAI and Bell Helicopter) expertise in designing, building and testing a four-place civilian version of the gyrocopter / aircraft hybrid which has a rotor that slows down as speed builds up, cutting drag while the aircraft’s fixed wing does the anti-gravity work..
A prototype of the four-place version / UAV will be flying by early next year, says AAI.
Here’s an AeroTVnetwork video from Oshkosh this summer showing flight in an earlier prototype.