The latest variant of Aerovel’s FLEXROTOR advanced Group 2 VTOL UAS has demonstrated its reliability for US Special Operations Command (USSOCOM), the company announced on 26 January.
One aircraft flew 102 cycles, most of them logged on only six flying days, while others achieved 150 cycles. FLEXROTOR is designed for the demanding reliability and specifications required by DoD, while being affordable for commercial applications.
In the past, even while operating most days, FLEXROTOR amassed about 700 flight-hours over many months in Afghanistan to accumulate 100 cycles. The most recent demonstration for USSOCOM required accelerated cycling, a challenge the aircraft was easily able to meet. Two people can conduct three FLEXROTOT flights in an hour, if necessary, relaunching the aircraft in as little as three minutes, while simultaneously minding a second aircraft in cruise mode.
This accelerated cycling rate is testament not only to FLEXROTOR’s reliability but also its unique flexibility. It has by far the longest endurance of any VTOL aircraft, setting the record at more than 32 hours. It has operated from ship and shore, on three oceans, and from the high Arctic to the high deserts of central Asia. It has also demonstrated fully autonomous cycling from an unmanned skiff.