Eurocopter flies EC145 unmanned

On Thursday, Eurocopter showed its ability to integrate unmanned flight capabilities into its helicopter family, demonstrating an „AFlight“ EC145 at the Istres flight test center in France.

EC 145 AFlight 2013

Die EC145 hat Eurocopter als OPV getestet (Foto: Eurocoper/Deulin).  


The optionally piloted vehicle (OPV) flew routes that included deployment of an external sling load and a representative observation mission, first with a safety pilot on board and then fully autonomously.

The first unmanned test flight of the technology demonstrator had taken place on 12 April. The flights used a four-dimensional flight plan that was uploaded to the helicopter, with its starting and completion points situated on the Istres Air Force Base’s Runway 15/33.

After an automatic takeoff, the EC145 flew the circuit via multiple pre-programmed waypoints, during which the helicopter performed a mid-route hover to deploy a load from the external sling. The EC145 continued on a return route segment representing a typical observation mission, followed by an automatic landing.

For delivery of the external load, the helicopter entered a planned hover – enabling the ground station controller to provide flight control inputs in orienting the EC145 over the drop point. The ground controller then transmitted a command to release load once the helicopter and load were correctly positioned.

The OPV flight capability was developed in great secrecy in an internally-funded Eurocopter program, and was coordinated by a team at the company’s Donauwörth, Germany facility. Initial tests with a monitoring pilot aboard the EC145 were flown from Donauwörth and then at Istres.

The EC145 demonstrator is a Eurocopter testbed helicopter with an enhanced dual-duplex four- axis automatic flight control system (AFCS) and the latest navigation systems. In addition, the helicopter is fitted with the “plug-in” OPV avionics rack in its cabin behind the pilot seats, which contains the data link subsystems.

With the OPV capability validated, Eurocopter says it is now positioned to pursue OPV flight capabilities for its product line of light, medium and heavy-lift helicopters – enabling these rotorcraft to be flown by pilots or in an unmanned mode.

Weitere interessante Inhalte
Nachfolger von Guillaume Fury Bruno Even neuer Chef von Airbus Helicopters

15.02.2018 - Airbus hat Bruno Even mit Wirkung zum 1. April 2018 zum Chief Executive Officer (CEO) von Airbus Helicopters ernannt. … weiter

Airbus Helicopters Skyways-Demonstrationsflug in Singapur

08.02.2018 - Airbus Helicopters hat eine erste Flugdemonstration seines Skyways-Paketdrohnensystems durchgeführt. Der Probebetrieb in Singapur soll „in diesem Jahr“ beginnen. … weiter

Tests in Patuxent River Sikorsky CH-53K transportiert JLTV

08.02.2018 - Bei den Flugtests in Patuxent River hat die Sikorsky CH-53K erstmals das neue Joint Light Tactical Vehicle transportiert. … weiter

Neuer Schwerer Transporthubschrauber der Bundeswehr CH-53K-Angebot: Sikorsky kooperiert mit Rheinmetall

06.02.2018 - Rheinmetall und Sikorsky bewerben sich gemeinsam um das Vorhaben Schwerer Transporthubschrauber der Luftwaffe. Eine entsprechende Kooperationsvereinbarung wurde am Dienstag bekannt gegeben. … weiter

Singapore Airshow Bell 412EPI für die Philippinen

06.02.2018 - Bell Helicopter hat auf der Luftfahrtmesse in Singapur einen Kaufvertrag mit dem philippinischen Verteidigungsministerium über 16 Bell 412EPI unterschrieben. … weiter

FLUG REVUE 03/2018


Einzelheft bestellen

- A380 gerettet
- PC-24 zugelassen
- Wüstenparkplätze für alte Jets
- Navy-Teststaffel "Dust Devils"
- Hubschrauber-Triebwerke
- BER weiter verzögert