Drones news

PICTURES: Unmanned AirMule makes free-flight debut

PICTURES: Unmanned AirMule makes free-flight debut
PICTURES: Unmanned AirMule makes free-flight debut. On 30 December 2015
<p><strong>On 30 December 2015, Urban Aeronautics&rsquo; AirMule completed its first autonomous, untethered flight at Megiddo airfield in northern Israel.</strong></p> <p><img alt="Asset Image" src="https://www.flightglobal.com/assets/getasset.aspx?itemid=65251" style="margin:0px" /></p> <p>UrbanAero</p> <p>Rafi Yoeli &ndash; chief executive of UrbanAero, the parent company of Tactical Robotics, which developed the vertical take-off and landing aircraft &ndash; says the test schedule in Megiddo includes plans to demonstrate the AirMule&rsquo;s cargo delivery capability. It also intends to make a beyond line-of-sight flight along a path running through an adjacent, forested area.</p> <p>&ldquo;All in all, we expect that in 2016 we will finally be able to demonstrate some of AirMule&rsquo;s unique capabilities,&rdquo; Yoeli says.</p> <p><img alt="Asset Image" src="https://www.flightglobal.com/assets/getasset.aspx?itemid=65252" style="margin:0px" /></p> <p>UrbanAero</p> <p>Meanwhile, UrbanAero has achieved so-called &ldquo;category 2&rdquo; certification for an export variant of the unmanned aircraft &ndash; named Cormorant &ndash; under the terms of the international Missile Technology Control Regime (MCTR). &ldquo;This is an important element in the eventual marketing of the aircraft,&rdquo; the company says.</p> <p>The Cormorant variant will be able to carry a useful payload of 440kg (970lb) for 162nm (300km), or an increased load over a shorter distance. The aircraft&rsquo;s maximum speed will be 100kt (185km/h), and its service ceiling 18,000ft.</p> <p>Internal lift rotors enable the single-engined AirMule to fly over obstructed terrain, where helicopters cannot operate.</p> <p>The first untethered flight event was delayed, with UrbanAero revealing that its activities in 2015 were interrupted following &ldquo;a ground incident that damaged our AirMule demonstrator&rdquo;. The company adds that it used a subsequent pause in testing to integrate new equipment and additional safety features with the platform.</p>