HANNOVER MESSE 2019, 01 - 05 April
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Lightweight Construction

The heli-drone will soon be taking to the skies

The Workhouse SureFly is a small helicopter that can be flown as easily as a drone. The flying taxi carries two people and is due to come onto the market within the next two years.

27 Aug. 2018
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The heli-drone will soon be taking to the skies (Photo: Workhorse Group Inc.)

The Workhorse Group from Loveland in Ohio, USA has unveiled the SureFly . This is a light helicopter that looks like a huge drone. The aircraft is lifted into the air by eight propellers, while two rotors rotate in opposite directions on each of its four carbon fiber arms. The power comes from two lithium batteries, each with an output of 7.5 kWh, which are charged by a gasoline engine. The manufacturer claims that the SureFly can carry two passengers or one passenger plus luggage over a distance of about 70 miles (roughly 110 kilometers) in an hour. If the gasoline engine fails, the pilot still has about five minutes to land the octocopter. It also carries parachutes for emergencies. Thanks to its lightweight construction, the unladen weight of the SureFly is only around 500 kg.

During take-off and landing, artificial intelligence (AI) is available to help the pilot, with information displayed on a tablet. The SureFly is steered by joystick, just like a drone. There are no foot pedals, as there are with a helicopter. Workhorse is aiming at a price under $200,000 and delivery should start within the next two years.