The team has been keeping busy testing the new Hercules airframe.

This is a larger airframe with a belly-skid and is able to take-off from the ground in a very short distance, which is a key capability needed for our retrieval aircraft. 

The airframe is flying well, but still needs a bit of tuning for the centre of gravity and control surfaces. We’ve had a few minor crashes in the testing process and gone through a few props, but the EPP foam is very resilient and there hasn’t been any major setbacks.

The next steps are to install the autopilot and implement the reverse thrust and airbrake system so that we can perform very short landings. We’ll also be able to get some more data on the airspeed and power draw to see how she’ll go for the range and endurance we need.

We have also been continuing to do some some more testing to refine the reverse thrust landing with our friends from Clear Maps. We’ll be adding in an ultrasonic sensor to try to get a better ground distance estimation which will improve the very short landings.