May 28, 2009 UK based Falx Air has just released the final design overview of its Hybrid Electric Coaxial Helicopter Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV). Sharing the same eco-friendly and fuel-savings goals as the company's previous hybrid designs - most notably its solar-hybrid tilt rotor aircraft - the new UAV platform is based on the latest fast charge battery systems developed in the USA and could be configured as a logistical transport for light cargo up to 70kg as well as for long endurance surveillance.

The airframe is produced from aerospace certified composite materials and the logistic “pod” can be easily removed and replaced with a range extending package or future sensors/weapons.

The hybrid Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) generates its own electricity by using a small rotary engine to drive a permanent magnet generator. The hybrid generating system has a combined weight of less than 24kg and has been bench tested for fuel consumption at less than 10 liters per hour (2.6galUS per hour) under load according to Falx Air. A bank of batteries act for emergency storage in case the engines stop working.

Two sets of three high torque motors are mounted along the length of the main shaft and each motor set is capable of losing two motors and still providing a safe landing. The flight control system uses “off-the-shelf” autopilot technology that has been modified to accept the unique coaxial flight control & power train system.

Falx Air believes that fully electric versions of a helicopter are still years away because current battery technology can't deliver rotor craft any practical endurance/capabilities.

David Greig

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