Washington state-based Aerovel demonstrated on August 14 the ability of the vertical take-off landing Flexrotor to transition to horizontal flight, the company announced. The Flexrotor is designed by former co-founder of Insitu Tad McGeer, who designed the ScanEagle unmanned air system more than 10 years ago. The Flexrotor is in the same size class as ScanEagle with similar endurance and range, but adds the ability to launch without a catapult and recover vertically. The ScanEagle is recovered by flying the UAS into a cable attached to a crane.

Proving that the Flexrotor can transition from vertical to horizontal mode in flight was a key challenge in the new UAS' development, McGeer said in a news release.

McGeer described the transition process for the Flexrotor. The maneuver "involves a 3g pull-up from 70kt to nose-vertical, climbing over 100m in about 3sec," McGeer said. "The autopilot managed the transition maneuvers nicely, and was crisp and precise in both wing- and thrust-borne regimes.

The Flexrotor is designed to lower operating costs of UAS to a level that can be afforded by commercial customers, McGeer said.

Source: Flight Daily News