Urban Aeronautics' ducted fan Panda UAV makes first flight

This story is sourced from Flight International
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Urban Aeronautics' prototype ducted fan Panda unmanned air vehicle has successfully completed its first series of test flights, with testing to resume once flight-control computers are adjusted based on first test results.

The Panda is 1.5m (4.91ft) long and 800mm (31.5in) wide. Its ducted fan uses an electric motor and two rotors, each with a span of 500mm. It has a maximum take-off weight of 22kg (48.4lb) that includes its 1.5kg payload. It is a smaller version of Urban's Mule, another ducted fan UAV, which is designed for frontline forces' resupply and medical evacuation missions.

According to chief executive Rafi Yoeli, the Panda can be carried on a Humvee-type vehicle and the ducted fan technology allows stable hovering and the installation of sensors in various parts of the airframe without the risk of the rotor downwash interference experienced with conventional rotorcafts' exposed blades.