Subscale eVTOL Flight Tests for Cargo UAV Development

Jetoptera and Eanan Al Samma are conducting flight trials of a subscale eVTOL aircraft, aiming to inform the development of the J-500 VTOL cargo UAV and its navigation system By William Mackenzie / 12 Jun 2024
Subscale eVTOL Flight Tests for Cargo UAV Development
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Jetoptera, working with unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) provider Eanan Al Samma, has begun the flight test campaign of a subscale, box-wing vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aircraft. 

The subscale eVTOL is a version of the larger J-500 VTOL cargo UAV, and is being used to refine the automated transitions to and from forward flight. The subscale eVTOL testing will act as a flight test bed for the J-500 autopilot development.

The goal of the flight test campaign is to further integrate the J-series flight controls, in order to develop the autopilot and navigation system for the larger J-500 UAV. 

The J-500 will address the U.A.E. market. It will be powered by the unique, patented Fluidic Propulsive System™ developed by Jetoptera, have a maximum speed of 200 knots, and will support payloads of up to 50 kg.

For the flight tests, the subscale eVTOL model is battery powered and is being operated in automated mode, including VTOL, hover, and transitions to and from forward flight. 

The companies state that the tests conducted so far show successful automated conversions from hover to forward flight and vice versa, as well as hover maneuverability of the aircraft, without pilot intervention. In automated mode, the mission is uploaded to the onboard control system and the entire mission is executed without any interaction from the pilot.

The subscale model uses electric ducted fans for propulsion. Over the next few months, the vehicle will be upgraded and tested with the J-500 avionics developed by EANAN, utilizing the Embention Veronte autopilot as adapted to the unique controls of the J-series aircraft.

The two companies state that they remain on track to complete the construction of the first prototype of the J-500 by the end of 2024. Data collected from the subscale aircraft informs the requirements for the J-500.

The flight test campaign of the subscale model has commenced at the Xrange test field near Abu Dhabi and will continue over the next few months. Multiple automated missions conducted to date include vertical take-off, hover, transitions, horizontal flight, vertical landing and endurance tests. Just like the J-500, the subscale model is also capable of conventional take-off and landing.

Dr. Andrei Evulet, CEO of Jetoptera, commented; “Our collaboration with Eanan Al Samma on the co-development of the J-500 has reached the important milestone of automated VTOL flights in the U.A.E. The first flights of our J-series architecture in the U.A.E. today also kicked off the development of the controls and avionics for the larger J-500. 

“Using the subscale aircraft at the location, we are collecting important flight data that are instrumental for the development and validation of the avionics planned for the FPS-powered vehicle. The partnership with Eanan Al Samma allows Jetoptera to accelerate our roadmap for the introduction of the larger J-series air taxis, on location, under the unique local conditions, where the primary market target is.”

Eanan Al Samma’s CEO, Ulrich Weckx, added; “Our partnership with Jetoptera marks a significant milestone in our journey to revolutionize the UAS industry. 

“By integrating Jetoptera’s FPS technology, we are enhancing the capabilities and operational efficiency of our aircraft, offering our clients unparalleled performance and reliability. This collaboration fits perfectly into Eanan’s strategy of continuously seeking innovative and game-changing technologies to maintain our leadership in the market.”

Posted by William Mackenzie Connect & Contact