Aircraft

Sabrewing prototype VTOL breaks a weight-lifting record

Sabrewing prototype VTOL breaks a weight-lifting record
The RG-1-A Alpha has successfully dead-lifted an 829-lb (374-kg) payload
The RG-1-A Alpha has successfully dead-lifted an 829-lb (374-kg) payload
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The Rhaegal is loaded through its nose, and is intended for applications such as search and rescue, firefighting, disaster relief, medical deliveries, or fuel and water deliveries
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The Rhaegal is loaded through its nose, and is intended for applications such as search and rescue, firefighting, disaster relief, medical deliveries, or fuel and water deliveries
The RG-1-A Alpha has successfully dead-lifted an 829-lb (374-kg) payload
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The RG-1-A Alpha has successfully dead-lifted an 829-lb (374-kg) payload

It goes without saying that the heavier a load a cargo aircraft can carry, the more useful that aircraft becomes. Well, the RG-1-A Alpha has reportedly just broken a record, by "dead-lifting" more weight than any autonomous VTOL has previously managed.

Designed by California aviation startup Sabrewing, the Alpha is a pre-production version of the company's Rhaegal uncrewed cargo VTOL (vertical take-off and landing) aircraft.

In its recent maiden hover flight, it lifted a payload of 829 lb (374 kg). According to Sabrewing, this exceeded "the previous world record for the 'dead-lift' of any commercial, vertical take-off, uncrewed air vehicle (UAV)." What's more, the Alpha is said to be capable of dead-lifting up to 3,100 lb (1,406 kg).

By way of comparison, the Skyf drone set a world record in 2018 by lifting 440 lb (220 kg) – a figure that's currently matched by the Volocopter drone. Elroy Air's Chaparral C1 VTOL hefts up to 500 lb (227kg).

And should you be wondering, dead-lifting refers to lifting a load straight up from the ground, using nothing but the thrust from the motors. All things being equal, fixed-wing aircraft are able to lift heavier loads than VTOLs, thanks to the lift provided by their wings.

With that fact in mind, it should be noted that the Alpha is also capable of traditional fixed-wing flight, as its four ducted fans can tilt from a horizontal to vertical orientation. When flying in such a manner, it's reportedly capable of lifting and transporting payloads of up to 2 US tons (4,000 lb/1,814 kg).

The Rhaegal is loaded through its nose, and is intended for applications such as search and rescue, firefighting, disaster relief, medical deliveries, or fuel and water deliveries
The Rhaegal is loaded through its nose, and is intended for applications such as search and rescue, firefighting, disaster relief, medical deliveries, or fuel and water deliveries

As far as other specs go, the Alpha itself tips the scales at 2,700 lb (1,225 kg), has a top forward speed of 230 mph (370 km/h) and can reach a maximum altitude of 22,000 ft (6,700 m).

It features a turbo-electric drivetrain, which incorporates an Ariel 2E turbine-based motor made by French aerospace firm Safran. Capable of running on 50% sustainable aviation fuel, that motor turns an electric generator which produces almost 1 megawatt of electric energy, which in turn powers the four fans' electric motors.

Plans call for the commercial version of the Rhaegal to be 47.9 ft long (14.6 m), have a wingspan of 55.8 ft (17 m), and be capable of dead-lifting up to 5,400 lb (2,454 kg) – in fixed-wing mode, it should be able to lift and carry 10,000 lb (4,545 kg).

Sabrewing reportedly already has purchase orders for 28 of the aircraft, to be used by the World Food/World Health program. Delivery of those units is scheduled to begin next December.

Source: Sabrewing

7 comments
7 comments
Graeme S
No lithium batteries, hooray!!! Now run the turbine on hydrogen and you have the future
TpPa
These drone companies are making Congress's life hell, all the general's come back every month saying I changed my mind, I need x amount to buy this new and improved drone.
Towerman
Well there you have it the genie's out the bottle, however i see it as an option not a replacement for batteries. BUT equally useful until batteries and capacitors catch up for heavy and long distance air transport.

However to get the ICE die hards on board this is a very good way of getting them to work together with electric fundi's.

Something that could let both industries prosper.

Achieving a very commercially usable vehicle.
Look_Ma_No_Hands
Elroy "says" that they can lift 500 pounds - but they've never carried a cargo load - ever. As a matter of fact, they've never flown more than once. Elroy is aiming to carry 300 pounds, according to their website. Sabrewing, on the other hand, has not only lifted 300 pounds more than Elroy on its first flight, but can carry *tons* more cargo than Elroy on its best day.
According to Sabrewing's website, they're already capable of 50% SAF, and are transitioning to hydrogen in 2025.
ljaques
Sweet! Not only is is a sleek looking bird at eye level, it also has a delicious Podracer flavor. ;)
I wish them swift luck in getting these to the public. (Without the bloomin' advertising all over them.)
ICE/EV hybrids are the long distance and/or weight-lifting winners today.
christopher
Looks like the Moller Skycar from 20 years ago, timed just-right to arrive after all their patents expire. https://newatlas.com/go/1378/
Towerman
Back in the day before EV'S advanced to what they are now i really had big hopes for moller's skycar... then came martins jetpack... pity the concepts never panned out but now we have superior EVS which is great... boy how far we have come !