Sights and Sounds of Flexrotors Flying Formation
January 19, 2016
“We get experience faster by flying aircraft simultaneously,” observes Aerovel’s Tad McGeer about the first dual-Flexrotor flight in mid-January. “People appreciate the aircraft’s capability – an exceptional combination of small size, light footprint, VTOL and long endurance. Now they ask about reliability. For definitive answers we have to move further along the learning curve, looking for details that need to be improved. Our customers are anxious to increase the tempo of operations, so we’ve started dual flights in order to push the process along.”
With no need for handling equipment, two Flexrotors can easily be flown in synchrony. “We decided to have some fun by launching and landing side-by-side, flying in formation, and doing airshow-style opposing-solo maneuvers.” And with one aircraft imaging the other, video – posted at www.youtube.com/AerovelCo – includes striking formation shots, in-flight close-ups,and transitions between wing- and thrust-borne flight.
“Watching the lead aircraft hold position in hover, from the wingman cruising past on the same level, way up in the sky, gives a whole new perspective on what Flexrotor can do. The sound was striking too. Not loud, but you knew that something different was happening in the air.”
Aerovel doesn’t anticipate much call for formation flying in service, but the ease of multi-aircraft operations from a single base will be a boon in survey and reconnaissance work – marching through parallel lines in geomagnetic mapping, for example, or searching in diverse directions from a tuna seiner. More of this work will develop as Flexrotor deliveries and operations ramp-up through the course of 2016.