Elroy Air Cargo
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Elroy Air Cargo
Cargo
Elroy Air Unmanned Cargo Aircraft.png
Role Un-manned cargo delivery system
United States
Manufacturer Elroy Air

The Elroy Air Cargo is an unmanned cargo aircraft developed by American startup company Elroy Air, intended to replace land delivery trucks on inefficient routes with unmanned aircraft.

Development

The San Francisco-based company was founded in November 2016 by David Merrill, CEO and Clint Cope, VP engineering. Elroy Air initially pursued the electric aircraft VTOL air taxi market, but turned to autonomous cargo aircraft to avoid starting out dealing with the complications of passenger-carrying certification. In December 2017, the company secured US$4.6 million of seed funding, led by aerial mobility investor Levitate Capital. The company is targeting the US government as a customer first, with a start date of 2021. This will be followed by overseas governments, then the US domestic commercial cargo market.[1]

By early 2018, a full-scale prototype had been tested at Half Moon Bay Airport, south of San Francisco. Its lift system--rotors, motors and controllers--was rigged on a truck-based testbed to verify the aerodynamic lift produced and the aircraft noise levels for urban areas operations. In early 2018 a subscale prototype was under construction to validate the aerodynamics and controls, with ground testing planned in early March 2018 and first flight by late March. The full-scale aircraft is forecast to be flown by late summer 2018.[1]

In early 2019, Elroy Air raised another $4.6 million, giving it a total of $9.2 million to bring it to market in 2020.[2] On August 14, The Chaparral large unmanned cargo aircraft made its first flight at Camp Roberts, California, a 64 s hover. The hybrid-electric propulsion system for beyond visual line of sight testing should fly in the second half of 2020 on a second prototype. A further Series A funding round is required for serial production towards 2021 deliveries.[3]

Design

The tandem-wing design to be employed in the air cargo role has a pusher propeller for forward flight, six propellers under twin booms for vertical lift and a pod to carry 150 lb (68 kg) of cargo under the central fuselage. The hybrid electric powertrain has variable-pitch rotors with a large diameter to turn more slowly, for redundancy and to reduce noise. Its 150 mi (240 km) operational radius is optimized for express delivery. Ground robots are planned to be employed for ground handling and one pilot would be responsible for an entire aircraft fleet.[1]

Specifications

Data from Aviation Week[3]

General characteristics

  • Crew: None (autonomous)
  • Capacity: 200-250 lb (91-113 kg)
  • Max takeoff weight: 1,215 lb (551 kg)
  • Powerplant: 6 × electric rotors
  • Powerplant: 1 × pusher propeller
  • Range: 300 mi (480 km, 260 nmi)


References

  1. ^ a b c Graham Warwick (Feb 2, 2018). "Unmanned Cargo Aircraft Head Toward Flight Tests". Aviation Week & Space Technology.
  2. ^ Jeremy Bogaisky (Feb 13, 2019). "Before Amazon Drops Packages On Your House From The Air, Drones May Start To Transform Air Cargo". Forbes.
  3. ^ a b Graham Warwick (Aug 29, 2019). "Unmanned Cargo Aircraft Take A Step Closer With Elroy Air Flight". Aviation Week & Space Technology.

Further reading

External links


  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.

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