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X-Hawk takes to virtual skies using bespoke simulator

Urban Aeronautics' developmental module will formulate flight modes and control laws

Flight modes, cockpit layout and control laws are being developed for Urban Aeronautics' X-Hawk using an internally developed simulator. Described as a fancraft, the X-Hawk is a vertical take-off and landing vehicle with tandem shrouded rotors, designed for use in urban canyons. First flight is set for 2009.

The flight simulator is located at the company's headquarters in Yavneh, Israel. "The simulation runs on Matlab/Simulink [software] and drives two image generators in parallel, mounted inside the dome," says Urban. The 5m (16.3ft)-diameter dome has hydraulic pitch motion.

The X-Hawk will have a fly-by-wire control system, with upper and lower vanes on the rotor ducts providing pure lateral control, without roll. The control vanes and shrouded rotors will enable the X-Hawk to hover while in contact with a wall, Urban claims.

Urban and high-rise rescue are among missions proposed. The Israeli company is pursuing a military version with Bell Helicopter and Penn State University in the USA, and is also studying an unmanned version called the Mule for combat-zone supply and medical evacuation missions. The Mule would be 25% smaller than the X-Hawk with a maximum take-off weight of 1,090kg (2,400lb) and a payload of 454kg.