ThunderFly TF-G1 autogyro drone is up for stormy weather
Although drones are a good substitute for piloted aircraft in hazardous weather conditions, it's obviously still best for their users if the things don't crash. The Czech-designed ThunderFly TF-G1 autogyro drone was created with that fact in mind.
Autogyros (aka gyroplanes or gyrocopters) are small aircraft with a powered propeller that pushes or pulls them forward, along with a non-powered set of rotor blades on top. As the prop moves the plane horizontally, air passes through the rotor blades, causing them to spin and produce lift.
It's sort of like a cross between a helicopter and a fixed-wing airplane. That said, due to the manner in which autogyros create lift, they're considerably more energy-efficient than helicopters, plus they're easier to pilot.
They can also maintain stable flight at slower speeds than fixed-wing aircraft, plus they're much less affected by high winds and wind gusts. That's where the TF-G1 is intended to come in.
While it has a number of potential uses, the drone is designed chiefly for applications such as weather research and search and rescue. It can carry up to 5 kg (11 lb) worth of equipment like meteorological sensors and thermal cameras, and can reportedly flight for over one hour per charge of its lithium battery.
The TF-G1 additionally has a service ceiling of 4,300 m (14,108 ft) above sea level, a maximum take-off weight of 25 kg (55 lb), and the ability to be launched from the roof of a car speeding down the road. Its smaller sibling, the TF-G2, can be seen doing so in the video below.
As an added bonus, its body is 3D-printed and open-source, so users can tweak it (and share their ideas) as needed.
Potential buyers can contact ThunderFly for information on pricing and availability.