The American company Workhorse Group recently received the authorization from the FAA to test its hybrid octocopter design helicopter, the SureFly. Indeed, the American company, a pioneer in sustainable and cost-effective electric mobility solutions, will soon start testing its two-seater helicopter propelled by electric motors.
The SureFly’s electric motors are powered by a gasoline generator and a backup lithium battery pack. It will be capable of carrying two passengers and cargo, or a total of 400 pounds of payload, up to 70 miles, or 112 km. In the event of an engine failure, the battery pack is powerful enough to drive the 8 motors for the time needed to make a safe landing. In addition to the backup battery, a ballistic parachute could be deployed in the event of an emergency. Its “X” drone-like octocopter design will make the SureFly a very stable and easy to pilot helicopter.
Early models will be piloted, with controls resembling those of current drones, but future generations will be completely autonomous. Workhorse expects the SureFly to receive a full FAA helicopter certification in late 2019. The expected price of the aircraft would be approximately $200 000.
The first test flight was scheduled to take place on January 8th during the 2018 CES in Las Vegas, but was utimately cancelled due to bad weather conditions. The SureFly stayed on the ground to test its motors. The fact is that the prototype is not yet waterproof and a flight in light drizzle would have been unsafe. Workhorse confirmed that production models will be waterproofed. The test flight will be carried out in the near future.
We will keep you up to date with news regarding this incredible aircraft capable of changing the way we think autonomous aircrafts.