Urban Aeronautics is continuing flight tests on its AirMule UAV prototype in preparation for free flights, which are scheduled to take place in the third quarter.
Preparations include the installation of a radar altimeter and flight termination system (FTS), as required by the Civil Aviation Administration of Israel (CAAI). In addition, the Israeli company is upgrading the communication system and ground control station to meet the needs of the upcoming tests.
The AirMule is a compact, unmanned, single-engine, vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aircraft. Internal lift rotors enable the UAV to fly inside obstructed terrain where helicopters are unable to operate.
Urban Aeronautics president Rafi Yoeli says that in anticipation of increased activity in the AirMule programme, the company has also started preparing specifications for sub-systems (transmissions, rotors, structure), and identifying potential suppliers and subcontractors in order to expedite full-scale development and delivery once funding is secured.
“Our second prototype, which is identical in size and construction to the first one, is advancing in parallel to all the work around our number one aircraft,” says Yoeli. “The main structure is almost completed and we will soon begin installation of gearboxes, engine, rotors and avionics.”
Yoeli adds that while preparations for next year’s demonstration flights are advancing, flight-testing with the number one aircraft is ongoing, and recently included the testing of various aerodynamic refinements which, up to now, have only been tested in a wind tunnel.
“These tests have shown promise for increased payload capacity in future AirMule derivatives,” says Yoeli.