Bat­tery-pow­ered Robbo

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A pro­to­type bat­tery-pow­ered Robin­son R44 has been flown in Cal­i­for­nia. It’s be­ing de­vel­oped to make qui­eter de­liv­er­ies to hos­pi­tals

On 21 Septem­ber Cal­i­for­nia-based Tier 1 Engi­neer­ing flew a bat­tery-pow­ered Robin­son R44 for the first time. It was air­borne at Los Alami­tos Army Air­field for five min­utes, reach­ing 400ft and 80kt. The mod­i­fied R44 is equipped with 700V, 100Ah Brammo lithium poly­mer bat­ter­ies and two Rine­hart Mo­tion Sys­tems three-phase per­ma­nent mag­net syn­chronous elec­tric mo­tors stacked to­gether to pro­vide re­dun­dancy in the event of a mo­tor fail­ure. The range of the ex­per­i­men­tal pro­to­type is 30nm, en­durance twenty min­utes, but Tier 1’s goal is to de­velop a bat­tery-pow­ered ro­tor­craft with a 600lb pay­load.

The com­pany is de­vel­op­ing the craft for Lung Biotech­nol­ogy PBC, based in Sil­ver Spring, Mary­land, which in­tends to pro­duce an elec­tric-pow­ered he­li­copter for dis­tribut­ing man­u­fac­tured trans­plant or­gans to hos­pi­tals, with much less noise and car­bon foot­print than cur­rent tech­nol­ogy.

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