By Tuan Nguyen
Posting in Design
The D-Dalus is ultra-quiet, works swimmingly in harsh weather conditions and requires much less maintenance than helicopters.
It can take off vertically, hover, rotate on a dime, fly in reverse and thrust down to nail a landing on a moving target. And it can do all of this at jet-like speed and without any of that familiar loud chopping noise.
But what's probably most impressive about the D-Dalus is that it doesn't have fixed wings or a rotorized engine system. Instead, it hovers using an innovative flight technology that may someday allow it to supplant helicopters as the ultimate in aerial maneuverability.
Helicopters have long been deployed in a wide range of military and police operations. Yet, for just as long, they've also been beset with some notable drawbacks. The same design principle that allows them to hover also limits their forward flying speed. The loud rotor engines also makes them impractical for reconnaissance missions.
IAT21, the company which developed the D-Dalus, claims their invention is a potential game-changer because it's designed to rectify all these concerns. It's ultra-quiet, works swimmingly in harsh weather conditions and requires much less maintenance, according to a report in Gizmag. The aircraft can enter buildings through windows and comes equipped with a sense-and-avoid system, which means it can navigate within tight spots and close to walls. Such versatility makes it ideal for search-and-rescue operations or as a surveillance drone.
The aircraft, which more closely resembles a lawn mower than any kind of known aircraft, differs in that it generates propulsion using four contra-rotating turbines spinning at speeds upwards of 2,200 rpm. But the key to its incredibly nimble maneuvering is the turbine's ability to be adjusted to produce thrust at different angles around the three axes.
A series of built-in computer algorithms take the guesswork out of how to reposition the blades so that in-air tricks, like glue-down landings, can be easily executed using a joystick.
Currently, the D-Dalus is marketed as a spy-drone. But the company plans to scale up the technology so that it can handle heavier payloads and even transport passengers.
"In trials to date D-DALUS has met the performance criteria placed upon it and appears to be scalable, becoming more efficient and less complex as it increases in size," according to the company website.
More innovative aircraft tech:
- Your own electric airplane for the price of a car
- Video: Piloted aircraft transforms into a spy drone
- Video: The world’s fastest helicopter?
- Experts: helicopter used in Bin Laden raid was stealth
- Video: Jetman soars over Grand Canyon
- Video: Jetpack flies among the clouds, shatters all sorts of records
Jun 23, 2011
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If it loses power, there's no chance of auto-rotating to a soft landing like a helicopter, it just drops out of the sky. Similar concepts have been tried before, and they worked - but nobody wants to fly in one. Good for a drone, though.
It sounds like an aircraft equivalent of a waterjet propelled ship or boat. The idea seems so obvious that you wonder why no one thought of it before. It will be interesting to see how big they can make these things.
Followed links from the article and was disapponted to read that a 5 foot x 5 foot prototype could lift just 70 kg. Going with this being a drone, that is little fuel and little useful payload, but an interesting start.