The Airboxer® successfully demonstrates automatic autorotation
Dordrecht – November 2021
In November 2021, High Eye performed multiple real-life autorotations with an Airboxer, confirming the robustness of the automatic system. Multiple drivetrain failures were simulated, including partial power losses and rapid full losses of power. In each case, the system was capable of stabilizing in a gliding autorotation within 1,5 seconds of the initial event, without any pilot interaction.
High Eye prides itself in having designed class-leading reliability into the Airboxer UAV. Whilst unprecedented reliability is of utmost importance, true resilience is created through extensive backup and redundancy features. The Airboxer is equipped to handle multiple component failures without affecting the operation, but it can also tolerate more catastrophic failures through its automatic autorotation capability. In many cases this allows operators to contain the event and prevent further escalation. Autorotation is the power-off gliding flight of a helicopter. It is a state of flight where a helicopter rotor is driven by the incoming airstream, whilst the helicopter is descending. This flight mode allows the helicopter to descend in a controlled manner when it is not capable of driving the rotor systems mechanically. It is generally used in events where the drivetrain, engine or tail rotor has failed completely.
In the case of full failure
In case of a full drive-train failure, loss of power, engine failure or loss of tail rotor authority, the Airboxer transits into a forward descending autorotation, regardless of the previously active flight mode. This rapid transition is fully automatic and requires no pilot interaction, even in case of loss-of-link situations. During the autorotation, the Airboxer maintains the current heading and descends on a 2:1 glideslope (twice the horizontal distance for every vertical distance lost). Pilots can still interact with the Airboxer during the autorotation and amend the heading to direct the Airboxer towards a safe area. Based on the currently available terrain data which is uploaded to the system, the Airboxer will even indicate its approximated touchdown area on the ground control station. The system will continue to monitor the affected system which triggered the autorotation and automatically recover, in case the problem is restored.
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📖 ABOUT HIGH EYE
High Eye designs, produces and sells long-range VTOL UAVs for the international market. VTOL UAV stands for Vertical Take-Off and Landing Unmanned Aerial Vehicle. These are unmanned helicopters that can fly automatically. The UAVs are operated by a pilot at the Ground Control Station. High Eye focuses on one product: the Airboxer 🚁✔