>> Advantages

The advantages include:

  • Low costs throughout the aircraft life cycle: design, manufacturing and maintenance
  • Accomplishes VTOL flight like the tilt-rotor/tilt-wing concepts, but with a much simpler, lighter and less expensive system.
  • Freewing provides a stable VTOL flightNot over-sensitive to c.g. changes; can load fuselage differently for different missions.
  • With low or zero landing speeds, landing accidents and their damage will be minimized.
  • With low or zero landing speeds, landings are much more amenable to automated flight controls. No need for highly experienced flight personnel.
  • Is inherently more survivable than conventional UAVs.
  • Transition from vertical to horizontal flight is intrinsically stable, since the freewings and the Tilt-Boom of the Spirit will automatically adjust themselves throughout the transition process to constantly maintain the ideal distribution of lift between them.
  • The freewings will not stall during transition – for other thrust-vectored systems one of the most common accident modes.
  • Provides a more efficient aircraft since swept area of the propeller can be increased and the wing sized for operational efficiency rather than design landing speeds.
  • Provides a platform that, compared to the rigid wing-based systems of the tilt-wing, tiltFreewing UAV is inherently stable in vertical flight rotor, stop-rotor, etc., will be inherently stable, a requirement for the videos and similar sensors that are the raison d’être of the UAV. In particular, since rigid-wing UAV’s (including tilt-rotor vehicles) provide a relatively rough ride in response to turbulence, they must incorporate stabilization systems cradling the cameras in a gimballed apparatus that typically costs more than the entire airframe. The Spirit, by contrast, will require simpler – therefore less expensive and lighter – camera stabilizers.
  • The Spirit is “mission capable” and able to operate effectively in gusty conditions that might ground many fixed wing aircraft, including tilt-rotor UAVs.

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Last Updated: Tuesday, 17 August, 2004 8:06 PM