Closed wing tiltrotor aircraft downsized for the UAV market
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.
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.
Source: VTOL Aerospace