Aircraft

Samad makes progress with eVTOL flight tests and a new cargo drone

Samad makes progress with eVTO...
Samad Aerospace has announced a new unmanned cargo drone capable of taking 50-kg loads
Samad Aerospace has announced a new unmanned cargo drone capable of taking 50-kg loads
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Samad Aerospace has announced a new unmanned cargo drone capable of taking 50-kg loads
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Samad Aerospace has announced a new unmanned cargo drone capable of taking 50-kg loads
It's a coaxial quadcopter architecture, with the rear fans capable of tilting forward to become horizontal thrusters
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It's a coaxial quadcopter architecture, with the rear fans capable of tilting forward to become horizontal thrusters
Samad is working to certify this transitioning cargo drone for unmanned use
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Samad is working to certify this transitioning cargo drone for unmanned use
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The UK's Samad Aerospace is making progress with half-scale prototypes of its E-Starling eVTOL aircraft, and has now started taking pre-orders for a smaller cargo drone using a similar design and semi-vectored thrust propulsion system.

Samad has come a fair way since we proclaimed the company a long shot about a year ago. For starters, it's built a 50-percent scale prototype of its proposed passenger aircraft, and has commenced flight testing.

Samad Aerospace's half scaled e-Starling CTOL test

Back in March, the half-scale E-Starling was shown in flight, albeit using conventional takeoff and landing with its forward two vertical lift fans blocked off.

A few days ago, a new video was released showing that the front lift fans are now operational. With the rear ones tilted to face downward, the aircraft has now demonstrated a stable multicopter-style takeoff, controlled hover and landing.

This prototype is big enough to seat a pilot, as shown in the video below, although it's unlikely that anyone was in it when it flew; tests are typically undertaken without the additional weight and risk of a pilot.

Samad Aerospace half scale e-Starling hover test

So far, so good – the transitions from vertical hover to horizontal flight and back again will be more challenging, but enough companies have demonstrated transitioning flight now that it's starting to look like less of a mountain to climb. The E-Starling's coaxial props seem quite loud at the moment, too, but this can doubtless be ironed out as the company progresses toward its full-size test aircraft.

On the other end of the scale, the company is also looking to use a similar design in an unmanned cargo drone, capable of remote-controlled or auto-piloted flight.

The Starling Cargo will cruise at 95 mph (153 km/h), at altitudes up to 10,000 feet. It'll fly up to 135 miles (217 km) on a charge, and carry decent-sized payloads up to 50 kg (110 lb). Samad has "started the certification process" for this cargo drone, and is taking pre-orders now with deliveries slated to begin in 2022.

It's a coaxial quadcopter architecture, with the rear fans capable of tilting forward to become horizontal thrusters
It's a coaxial quadcopter architecture, with the rear fans capable of tilting forward to become horizontal thrusters

The company says it's seen interest from a range of oil and gas companies, mining companies, medical logistics operations and emergency responders.

All in all, it's good to see some quick progress from this Milton Keynes company, and while they're not yet breathing down the necks of compatriots Vertical Aerospace, these guys have staked their own claim and have a good chance to make us eat our words.

Source: Samad Aerospace

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5 comments
5 comments
Steven Clarkson
Now Thats more like it ! This looks real nice. Having the fans to be more intergrated to the fuselage.

All thats needed to add that finishing touch is to make automatically opening duct covers over the fans like landing gear wheel well covers for conventional craft so that in flight they will be closed equaling better aerdynamics and greater Aesthetics !
jerryd
With planes that can take off in basically 0' and land it 2-3 planes lengths, why go through this much trouble, cost, complications?
Planes with low aspect ratios of 1-1, 1.25-1 can just float to a landing. 1 even called a parachute wing, round and oval wing.
Gyros do this too.
With enough power, easy to do in an EV plane, it can literally jump into the sky designed right/STOL.
Aermaco
All eVTOL aircraft require 0 ft take-off & landing because rooftops will be a key future landing zone that can't afford any rolling whatsoever to be wide market successful which this attractive bird can do.
This e-starling airplane currently has an inefficiency with the pusher prop fans blocked by the thick wing holding the front fans. Those fans can get better aerodynamics when closed up in later versions also with the pushers moved outward away from them.
However any aircraft which carries 100% more power plant dead weight than is required for forward flight will suffer mileage loss, plus if it is only battery-powered it will be more distance loss than if it is fuel cell powered.
Steven Clarkson
In reply to the below quote i actually liked the noise it makes, it is not irritating its pleasing, not too loud either for an evtol take off...
"""The E-Starling's coaxial props seem quite loud at the moment, too, but this can doubtless be ironed out as the company progresses toward its full-size test aircraft.""""
ljaques
Very interesting. I've wanted a VTOL/VSTOL aircraft ever since I was a kid, back when I was watching the Jetsons on TV. Lithiums and fuel cells are making this more of a reality lately, and I love it. BRING 'EM ON!