African Pilot

Sabrewing announces long range cargo VTOL first flight

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Sabrewing Aircraft plans to perform the first flight of its Rhaegal unmanned heavy-lift, long-range half-scale prototype aircraft by the end of March, says Ed De Reyes, Sabrewing chairman and CEO. This half-scale prototype has an 8.5 m wingspan and will be roughly half the weight of the full-size production aircraft.

The full-scale Rhaegal that will go into production will have a wingspan of 17 metres, said De Reyes, adding that the company started with the half-scale prototype to make it easier to operate and for it to perform avionics and autopilot developmen­t. The Rhaegal RG-1 is designed to fly non-stop and un-refuelled for 4500 nautical miles (8800 kilometres).

The full-scale Rhaegal will feature a turbo-electric powertrain that will be fuel-efficient and not require a charging station. Sabrewing is installing a Safran Arriel 2D turboshaft engine that it received for free from Safran into the half-scale prototype for use in its upcoming flight test. The Arriel 2D, which powers the Airbus H125 and H130 single engine commercial helicopter­s, features a take-off power of 952 shaft horsepower (shp) and a cruise power of 856 shp.

De Reyes said Sabrewing just finished redesignin­g the half-scale prototype’s gearbox for use with the Arriel 2D as it would provide about three times the shaft horsepower that would have been provided by another engine the company considered using. De Reyes told Janes that the company was planning to use a Boeing 502 gas turbine engine in the half-scale prototype’s first flight but decided against it when it discovered that the Boeing engine, which provides 300 hp, would max out at just over 300 kW for a few seconds.

Skyfront broke a multi-rotor drone flight time record by staying airborne for 13 hours and four minutes, whilst travelling a distance of 205 miles. The world record-breaking flight was achieved by the Skyfront Perimeter 8, the company’s most advanced eight rotor drone. The event was captured via the drone’s onboard 360 cameras. The rationale behind their flight is the Skyfront proprietar­y fuel-injected hybrid gasoline-electric powertrain. The easiest, safest and longest endurance hybrid multirotor on the market.

The Perimeter 8 UAV features an impressive 17 lb. / 7.5 kg payload capacity with one hour endurance and a no-payload endurance of over five hours. The Perimeter 8 is just as easy to operate as the Perimeter 4, but has full propeller, motor and ESC redundancy. This redundancy in addition to electronic fuel injection and a five-minute battery backup reserve flight time ensures the safety of high-value payloads.

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