From Wired's DangerRoom site.

On April 30, the Navy awarded Aerovel a second development contract to improve the Flexrotor’s engine and remote controls. The ultimate goal is to develop a version of the ‘bot equipped with sensors and capable of operating from small ships. “With Flexrotor, the two biggest benefits to sailors and Marines would be the ability to do extended maritime surveillance from a ship, and to do so with a small footprint,” said ONR’s John Kinzer.

As depicted in the video above, the Flexrotor takes off vertically like a helicopter, propelled by its roughly five-foot, tip-mounted rotor. Once it climbs high enough, small winglets pop out of the robot’s tail end and it tips over and dives, transferring lift from its rotors to its 10-foot-wide wing mounted in the middle of the tube-shaped body. The rotor becomes a propeller, and Flexrotor cruises along like any conventional airplane. The first drone’s first test transition between copter and plane modes took place in August.

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Comment by Jack Crossfire on May 6, 2012 at 1:18pm

Definitely a bit of Insitu heritage with the crazy landing jig.  The V Bat still looks simpler, even though it doesn't have the promised endurance.

Comment by Philippe Petit on May 6, 2012 at 2:35pm

Funny thing, do you know how they enable pitch control in the vertical hover mode? They do have some small propellers at the end of the wings, but what about pitch?

Thank you

Comment by Jack Crossfire on May 6, 2012 at 3:37pm

Roll & pitch are done by ailerons.  Funky propellers control yaw, yet a lot of foam flyers are able to control yaw with the rudder.  That could be patented.  1 of these tail sitter guys should go all the way & make a VTOL flying wing.

Comment by Aaron Shaw on May 6, 2012 at 7:16pm

"VTOL flying wing", That pretty much describes the Quadshot. http://www.thequadshot.com/

Comment by bGatti on May 6, 2012 at 8:17pm

I'm pretty sure this uses a full cyclic control on the main rotor for control in launch/land mode.

It's a helicopter at that point.


Moderator
Comment by Gary Mortimer on May 6, 2012 at 11:39pm

The quadshot is a meld of lots that came before, the clever bit is managing the transition. Containing yaw is a real issue with small platforms. Huge rudders are the order of the day ;-)

Comment by Seth on May 7, 2012 at 12:33am

There's no pitch control on the main propeller, so landing on a pitching/rolling deck is going to be an interesting feat.


Moderator
Comment by Gary Mortimer on May 7, 2012 at 12:40am

Have to remember these folks bought us the Scan Eagle they know what they are doing.

Comment by Philippe Petit on May 7, 2012 at 4:14am

Hey Jack, yes I agree the way you described the hover controls seems to be logic and explains the funny propellers at the end of the wing. They could use their tail-actuators for control, however these are retracted!

Comment by Seth on May 7, 2012 at 9:19am

The main rotor/propeller disk is fixed, and large diameter- perhaps they are using gyroscopic precession for control?

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