The first test flights of the Netherland's National Aerospace Laboratory (NLR) Facility for Unmanned Rotorcraft Research (Furore) vehicle will take place at Noordoostpolder in the third quarter of this year.

Based on the Culemborg, Netherlands-based-Geocopter's 80kg (176lb) GC-201 model, which is to be commercially available in October, the Furore variant will have a 60min endurance with a 30kg payload and two on-board control systems, each with its own datalink. One of the control systems is to be supplied by Delft Dynamics, a technology company with which NLR intends to conduct automatic flight control research.

"The Furore unmanned air vehicle will be a research subject as well as a research tool," says NLR. The Furore GC-201 will use GPS navigation for automatic take-off, flying and landing. In the case of datalink loss or other problems the unmanned air vehicle will be able to return to base and land autonomously.

The helicopter will be used to research unmanned rotorcraft flight performance, flight control, avionics development, sensor integration, lifecycle monitoring, legislation and certification issues and operational procedures including airspace integration and defence applications. Through Furore, the NLR wants to promote and support the development and use of lightweight unmanned aircraft and helicopters.

Source: Flight International