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Guinness World Record Electric Helicopter Flies Record 30 NM
Electric Helicopter Flies Record 30 NM (Corrected)
By Mary Grady , Contributing editor | December 11, 2018
A modified Robinson R44 designed and built by Tier 1 Engineering has
set a Guinness World Record for the farthest distance traveled by an
electric-powered helicopter, the company announced this week. The
flight launched in Palm Springs, California, and covered 30 nautical
miles at an average speed of 80 knots, at about 800 feet, last Friday.
The helicopter was flown by Captain Ric Webb of OC Helicopters. Tier 1
said it is working on the project under contract from Lung
Biotechnology PBC, with the goal to produce an electric-powered
semi-autonomous rotorcraft that will deliver manufactured organs for
transplantation to hospitals with less noise and fuel consumption than
The company first flew the aircraft in September 2016. Its twin
electric motors are powered by 1100 pounds of Brammo Lithium Polymer
batteries, and itís controlled with a system from Rinehart Motion
Systems. In February 2017, the aircraft set a world record for
duration and altitude of a battery-powered helicopter with a 30-minute
flight, reaching 800 feet and flying at a peak speed of 80 knots. The
program aims to achieve two hours of flight time, plus a 30-minute
Somewhere, Lindbergh is nervous.
Posted by: YARS (Tom Yarsley) | December 11, 2018 6:46 PM Report
Really - on only 100 lb of batteries? That's a four-seat helicopter,
so for single-occupant operations it could carry 600 lb of batteries,
which would give it 180 nautical miles of range; and as a two-seater
it could have 120 nautical miles of range. Label me... impressed.
Surprised. A little skeptical.
Posted by: Thomas Boyle | December 12, 2018 7:08 AM Report this
Actually, I find the most impressive part of this story is that there
is a company successfully making manufactured human organs for
transplant. I think Lung Bio would have more success partnering with
one of the many EAV companies like Volocopter or E-Hang, who are much
farther along in developing electrically powered flight.
Posted by: John McNamee | December 12, 2018 11:48 AM Report this
Thomas, you're right about the 100 pounds of batteries... there was a
typo in the news release. The story has been updated to 1100 pounds.
Posted by: Mary Grady | December 12, 2018 12:58 PM Report this
1100 pounds of batteries for a 30 nm trip? That's even less impressive
that I originally thought. As with electric powered fixed wing
airplanes, it seems that it makes better sense to do a clean sheet
design rather than trying to adapt an existing design (the Robinson
helicopter) to electric flight. Or, maybe just partner with Amazon to
do autonomous delivery with one of their units.
Posted by: John McNamee | December 12, 2018 4:01 PM Report this
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