Pilot to carry heavy loads? Boeing has just completed a run of test flight, to assess the potentials of the new version of their new unmanned helicopter Hummingbird.
This new version, named A160T, is capable of carrying a sling payload just below 600 kilos of material, at a distance of approximately 150 nautical miles, and to return to its launch base. This is a Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) which does not require any direct pilot human intervention during its trip, except of course for the preparation of its payload and for programming of its itinerary towards destination.
Who needs a pilot to carry heavy loads in the new unmanned helicopter?
During the tests, the Hummingbird UAV has been seriously put to work, by taking it to a height of approximately 3650 meters (12000 feet) on a full load, and making it hover on its position for a couple of minutes. Also, it has been used for night operation simulations, also in nasty weather conditions; all tests have been easily passed with flying colors and extreme precision.
The Hummingbird is one of Boeing’s spearheads in the unmanned aerial vehicles field, as it is in operations since years and holds the current record for the longest unmanned flight without refueling.
Thanks to its flexibility and precision, this specific model can be used for short range loading and unloading operations, around the clock and continuously, day and night, in order to optimize the supply (and resupply) of military material for troops deployed in war zones which may not be easily reached with conventional air or ground vehicles.
Furthermore, if properly equipped with video and photo cameras, it can be a useful tool for reconnaissance missions, target acquiring and aerial video surveillance.