Unmanned SkyTote is Hybrid of Helicopter and Fixed Wing Aircraft

The Air Force Research Laboratory is creating a new unmanned aircraft that will perform vertical take offs and landings like a helicopter, but fly horizontally at high speed. The cyclic controlled counter-rotating rotors generate propulsion for the craft, similar to a helicopter. In horizontal flight, the rotor system works like a conventional propeller. The aircraft’s role will be to determine bomb damage, evacuate troops, and conduct resupply missions. When in hover mode, the SkyTote can achieve 200 knots, about twice that of a conventional helicopter with a similar payload, and has a 52-horsepower engine.

The testing phase will include hover and fixed wing flight and transitioning between the two. A pilot will take control of the plane if necessary. The SkyTote has been in development since 1998. The next tests will be performed at Camp Roberts in California in June.