Urban Aeronautics has achieved sustained tethered automatic hovering flight of its AirMule unmanned cargo delivery and medical evacuation vehicle.
The 21 April flight, at an altitude of up to 9.8ft (3m), paves the way for the first untethered flight later this year.
The ducted fan-propelled AirMule is powered by a Turbomeca Arriel 1 730hp (545kW) turboshaft engine and uses Urban's own automatic flight-control system that relies on GPS augmented inertial measurement and two laser altimeters.
The 2.15m wide, 5.9m long AirMule has a 1,200kg (2,640lb) maximum take-off weight, a 100kt (185km/h) top speed and a 430kg payload capability - for a 1h mission with 130kg/h fuel consumption.
© Urban Aeronautics