Drones

Closed wing tiltrotor aircraft downsized for the UAV market

Closed wing tiltrotor aircraft...
The Coverticopter from VTOL Aerospace is targeted at the UAV market
The Coverticopter from VTOL Aerospace is targeted at the UAV market
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VTOL Aerospace's larger manned model designed to hold anywhere from 4 to 10 passengers, depending on the model
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VTOL Aerospace's larger manned model designed to hold anywhere from 4 to 10 passengers, depending on the model
VTOL Aerospace's larger manned model designed to hold anywhere from 4 to 10 passengers depending on the model
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VTOL Aerospace's larger manned model designed to hold anywhere from 4 to 10 passengers depending on the model
The Coverticopter from VTOL Aerospace is targeted at the UAV market
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The Coverticopter from VTOL Aerospace is targeted at the UAV market
Testing on the latest Converticopter prototype
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Testing on the latest Converticopter prototype
The company has demonstrated the prototype's capability for vertical take off and landing
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The company has demonstrated the prototype's capability for vertical take off and landing
VTOL Aerospace's larger manned model designed to hold anywhere from 4 to 10 passengers, depending on the model
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VTOL Aerospace's larger manned model designed to hold anywhere from 4 to 10 passengers, depending on the model

For several years, VTOL Aerospace, formerly known as Elytron Aircraft, has been developing a closed wing tiltrotor aircraft that blends the vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) capabilities of a helicopter with the range and efficiency of fixed-wing aircraft. Building off several larger, manned VTOL prototype designs, the company has now revealed its latest line – a smaller unmanned version called a Converticopter.

This Converticopter is designed to tap into the growing unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) market, with the product initially aimed at government or commercial organizations involved in activities such as search and rescue, border patrol or oil and gas inspections.

With a closed, or box, wing design and two tiltrotors, the Converticopter has a wingspan of around 8 ft (2.4 m), which is larger than most commercially available quadcopter UAVs, such as the DJI Inspire 2. The craft's larger size and 20-Ah battery allows loiter flights of up to 1.5 hours, which can be extended to more than five hours with an electric hybrid power plant.

Testing on the latest Converticopter prototype
Testing on the latest Converticopter prototype

The initial model, the CVC 96, can carry a payload of up to 5 lb (2.2 kg), but the company suggests the design can be easily scaled up depending on the needs of the buyer. These customizable models could theoretically scale up to a wingspan of 40 ft (12.1 m) and, with a larger power source, offer even longer flight times and increased payload sizes.

VTOL Aerospace is continuing development of its manned aircraft, but is also looking to license the closed wing design to manufacturing partners who would be able to produce larger UAVs that could be cutomized to meet their particular needs.

The design is demonstrated in a the maiden flight of the Proto12 prototype shown below.

PRoto12 maiden flight, with multiple camera angles and telemetry

Source: VTOL Aerospace

4 comments
MD
Box wing design does have some interesting strength and vortex reduction properties if done right. Patented by Lockheed Martin in 1973. Expired hence public domain.
riczero-b
What an elegant solution; the VTOL fan airflow is unimpeded and the boxwing gives some emergency glide capability. And keeps folks from wandering into the blades.
Jason Catterall
Great concept, but what a shame that the footage shows absolutely nothing of either the tilt rotor or VTOL capabilities. As it is, it's just a radio controlled plane with box wings.
jimbo92107
Same wing configuration, but add a longer, lifting body fuselage, wider wings, swap the twin mid props for a single push prop. Add big wheels for bush plane use. Quick takeoffs, stable flying, quieter cabin, better capacity. You could even make a float plane version, with a catamaran hull also serving as lifting body.