Urban Aeronautics announced on November 3, 2016, that its Cormorant Unmanned Air vehicle (UAV) prototype ‘Cormorant’ has performed its first autonomous flight pattern, including low flight over uneven terrain.
While pattern flights are routine for conventional fixed wing aircraft and rotorcraft, it is a significant milestone in the evolution of an entirely new family of Urban’s proprietary technology aircraft known as ‘Fancraft’.
Unlike other (manned and unmanned) aircraft, the Cormorant’s autopilot relies primarily on inertial and ground reference, which is more complex than flying through open, unobstructed airspace. This industry-first event begins to demonstrate the Cormorant’s capability to operate close to the ground and inside obstructed terrain, in environments previously inaccessible to existing aircraft (with a similar payload).
Building on the success of this first pattern flight, upcoming flights will test ongoing development to improve the smoothness of transitions through the various flight modes (take-off, climb, acceleration, cruise, deceleration, descent, turns, hover and touchdown), in addition to increasing speed and maneuverability.
November 16, 2016