High Eye, a developer of professional unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), has announced that it has achieved a variety of milestones in the testing of the new model of the company’s HEF 32 Airboxer unmanned helicopter. The new design features upgrades to all parts of its construction, resulting in improved performance envelope and reliability.
High Eye met and surpassed one of their most important goals, which was to reach 1000 hours of maintenance-free running of the helicopter’s rotor systems and two gearboxes in a simulated testing environment. This test milestone will allow the HEF 32 Airboxer to achieve a rated airframe TBO (Time Between Overhauls) of 1000 hours, which High Eye claims is unprecedented in the lightweight UAV market.
The rotor systems and the gearboxes will be maintained as single-part modules, meaning that within their overhaul lifetime, customers will only execute scheduled external inspections. Once the overhaul lifetime has been reached, the assemblies can then either be overhauled by High Eye or replaced completely. This approach allows customers to run very lean maintenance programs that require only basic facilities and training.
High Eye has also achieved trouble-free running performance of the unmanned helicopter’s new propulsion unit, which is based on a two-cylinder 80cc air-cooled engine. Drawing on experience from previous designs, the company has combined in-house designed injection and cooling systems, a fully integrated custom ECU and a thorough dynometer testing program. The engine’s excessive power output has been flat-rated to maximize its reliability and longevity, whilst still providing ample power to bring the HEF 32 Airboxer to its high service ceiling with adequate payload capability.