Tag: Drone

Faradair® announces unmanned, autonomous firefighting ‘Air Tanker’

Faradair® announces unmanned, autonomous firefighting ‘Air Tanker’

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Following on from a very successful Farnborough Airshow in July ( https://youtu.be/bH7oOwPMpg8 ) Faradair Aerospace Limited is pleased to announce a Drone variant of the Turboprop powered BEHA M1 (Bio Electric Hybrid Aircraft), in firefighting specification called the BEHA M1-AT (Air Tanker).

Considerable interest has already been shown in the BEHA M1 military variant following the popular International Airshow, with discussions now ongoing as to exact specification capability and design optimisation adjustment to fulfil those roles.

With unrivalled payload lifting profile and capability of the BEHA M1 revealed in July, it was a natural progression to be able to demonstrate additional roles and capabilities of the aircraft. With increased global temperatures and growing numbers of forest fires, the requirement for airborne firefighting capability is increasing. However the operating cost for many of these aircraft often results in fires getting out of control when they could have been contained sooner with immediate fire suppression.

BEHA M1-AT

The ability to fly a fleet of autonomous drone BEHA M1-AT’s to a fire location, providing continuous low level delivery with greater payload capability than helicopters for less operational cost and zero pilot risk, is an attractive proposition. Powered by a 2000 horsepower turboprop engine (yet to be finalised), the BEHA M1-AT offers nations and firefighting services, an aircraft that can fly autonomous fire retardant delivery, without risk to a manned crew in repeat cycles over an autonomous track.

To date, former WW2 era bombers and converted civilian jets have been used to deliver large scale firefighting capability, but that scale increases costs and pilot risk. The 11 meter wingspan BEHA M1-AT with a 10 tonne payload capability offers the operator an opportunity to acquire a fleet of aircraft, for a fraction of the acquisition and operational costs of helicopters, flying in rotation to combat the smaller fires and to prevent them becoming larger fires.

The aircraft’s unique ‘triple box-wing’ configuration allows extremely short take-off and landing capability whilst also allowing the aircraft to lift large payloads with hybrid flight capability if required. BEHA can operate from any surface, in confined spaces with protection of the propeller in the rear duct, lessening the risk of Foreign Object Damage (FOD) during payload delivery runs. The all carbon composite airframe is lightweight and extremely strong, allowing for larger payloads to be carried, making it perfect for anti-fire operations.

We have always said that our new BEHA aircraft platform is focused more on multi-role functionality than specific focus in one class of flight (Urban Air Mobility) and this firefighting drone configuration really highlights that capability. Obviously the ability to carry retardant also opens the opportunity for refuelling in the military environment, possibly negating the need for resupply fuel tracks or even low cost air to air refuelling option for the F35B from carriers without ‘cats n traps’. It is a genuinely exciting aircraft and we are now tweaking the design of the airframe to ensure the most volume can be achieved from the payload capability” Managing Director of Faradair® Neil Cloughley said.

He continues – “With our management teams past experience of the UAV sector, the ability to offer a pure UAV variant of BEHA has always been something we were keen to pursue and with the growing number of fires, possibly related to global warming, we saw a great opportunity to ensure that every nation can afford airborne firefighting capability. We would be delighted to open dialogue with firefighting departments and commercial airtanker providers throughout the world to see how the BEHA M1-AT can fit within their portfolio of operations”.

The BEHA is currently undergoing design optimisation at Swansea University and scale model flights have been conducted from a satellite office in Sweden. Talks are ongoing with UK Government investment groups and new partners to ensure this exciting UK aerospace start-up continues to grow.

To find out more about Faradair® visit www.faradair.com

Faradair® can also be found at: www.facebook.com/Faradair and Twitter @Faradair

– Ends –

AUGUST 2018

Notes to editors

The BEHA (Bio Electric Hybrid Aircraft) is the brainchild of commercial aviation and former IT entrepreneur Neil Cloughley. He believes ‘Faradair®’ is evolving at the perfect time for clean-technology and environmentally friendly aircraft, resulting in a programme that is attracting world class, market leading partners which in turn is generating increased global interest in BEHA and Urban Air Mobility. Neil has created a team, a company, a brand and an initial aircraft design concept that could significantly increase urban and military aviation opportunity. In just 4 years Faradair® has inserted itself into the aerospace market and it intends to be one of the leading companies in this new aviation sector.

About Faradair

Since 2014 Faradair® remains the UK’s pioneering hybrid electric aircraft Development Company. This double award winning Cirencester start-up is working with a select group of partners to deliver innovative prototype aircraft and propulsion systems that are set for trials over the next three years. Faradair®’s early vision for hybrid electric regional air transport is now being adopted by many of the major tier 1 aerospace primes, yet the Bio-Electric-Hybrid-Aircraft (BEHA) remains the UK’s most advanced programme with flight tests of scale models already underway.

Faradair® aims to be one of the world’s leading hybrid aviation technology companies and future projects include a larger regional commuter variant of BEHA. This will significantly reduce the impact of intercity commercial aviation on the environment and on those living within close proximity of airports, whilst also providing a financially viable alternative to road and rail transport.

For further information please contact:

Faradair Aerospace Limited

Website: www.faradair.com

Email – info@faradair.com

Tel – +44 1285 700811

Faradair begins prototype development phase

Faradair begins prototype development phase

Our new corporate video highlights our journey to date and our path to our prototype development phase future

This new video highlights some of the background behind the project and the resources now in place to deliver this exciting new aviation programme, which includes the new Hybraero H600 hybrid aviation engine and the BEHA (Bio Electric Hybrid Aircraft) that is set to use this innovative propulsion system.

Since launch, the company has focused on initial design analysis of the BEHA aircraft concept with Cranfield University, utilising Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) to assist us in design development from our initial concept. In addition the company has secured IP and Trademark protection, whilst establishing solid foundations from which to grow the business, ably assisted and guided by our law firm partner – Veale Wasbrough Vizards.

Throughout 2015, the company secured partnerships with Avidyne Corporation for avionics development and Prodrive, one of the UK’s leading Motorsport and Advanced Technology engineering firms, resulting in the Joint Venture partnership for the Hybraero H600 hybrid engine, details of which can be found in our ‘Hybraero’ section.

Having attracted Angel investment to enable all of our foundation work to be completed, the company is now ready to move forwards into the prototype development phase.

The recent Paris Agreement on Climate Change has resulted in many people talking about the need to find solutions for cleaner and more efficient transport options. Faradair has been quietly getting on with developing the propulsion and airframe required to deliver true urban and regional eco-friendly flight opportunity via Short Take Off and Landing (STOL) capability and viable propulsion technology.

Over recent months, many corporations have changed their strategy on electric flight programmes, including aviation giants such as Airbus, with a majority now understanding the limitations of pure electric flight at this time and the opportunity of urban flight operations. A vision Faradair has been promoting since November 2014 and is now set to become a leading manufacturer in this exciting new sector.

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In time, the limitations around cities of VTOL (Vertical Take Off and Landing) will also be understood, along with the limitations of autonomous and drone flight operations in and around the urban environment. Faradair is growing into a market leading company with sensible, practical design that delivers real flight opportunity based on a realistic business model.

If you are interested in finding out more or becoming part of our investment partners, please use our ‘Contact us’ form to open dialogue, we look forward to hearing from you.

Drone delivery – A realistic perspective

Drone delivery – A realistic perspective

An opinion piece on drone delivery by Faradair® Managing Director – Neil Cloughley

A lot has been mentioned recently about ‘drone’ delivery services. Companies such as Amazon, Google, DHL and others are pushing a view that we will all soon be receiving our packages via drone delivery device.

Whilst there is no doubt that autonomous delivery technology will arrive, the manner in which this is delivered is still very much open to debate. At Faradair®, we have a more realistic vision for drone delivery; however we prefer the term UAV (Unmanned Air Vehicle) delivery.

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Having been involved in and around military drones at a young age in the mid 1980’s, I learned a great deal about the trials and tribulations of ‘drones’ (RPV’s back in the day) and some of the major problems that come from flying powered craft anywhere near areas of population. There is nothing more disturbing for a UAV operator than to realise that the aircraft is no longer responding to commands and subsequently realising that the ‘failsafe’ back-up is not responding either. Put this scenario in an urban environment and the scenario becomes even more critical.

There are two major problems for drone delivery and they come in the form of ‘payload’ capability and ‘communication’.

Payload – In order for any reasonable size of package to be delivered economically, it requires an air vehicle with some considerable mass to sensibly lift said payload safely. This in itself creates a major problem as the larger the air vehicle gets, the greater the impact threat, resulting in considerable damage and harm risk to those under the operational flight-path. If the air vehicle gets bigger, how do you power this drone? Electric can only get you so far, so does this mean a heavy fuel option? A hybrid power system? A winged option rather than multi-rotor? Will noise become an issue?

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In terms of impact threat, there are multiple potential collision and third party damage issues that drones in an urban space could cause and many people are ignoring the collateral damage risk of an out of control drone. For example, if a package delivery drone crashes on a dual carriageway and a car swerves to avoid it causing an even bigger incident that possibly results in serious injury, the question that will be asked is – Who is to blame?

 

Would it be the driver of the car? The pilot of the drone? The package delivery company or the person that ordered the product? With today’s litigious society, it could be all of the above. This is just one example of the significant risk factors that make urban ‘to your door’ drone delivery an extremely difficult proposition to enable safely.

Just this weekend a number of national newspapers around the world printed articles highlighting the ugly threat of terrorism and the use of drones to deliver ‘dirty payloads’ over a city. Currently, a drone flying down a major city street is a rare sight and therefore easier to detect and deal with. If however the sight of delivery drones became commonplace, then the ability to hide a significant threat within that flight traffic becomes a much larger problem.

So as you can see, the notion of drone delivery is great, the realistic constraints of the world we live in today, are a little more difficult to overcome.

Communication – As demonstrated when the American military lost one of its most advanced UAV’s in the Middle East, drones do come down when you least expect them to and more often than not, this is related to loss of communication. Suffice to say that most delivery companies will not be using the level of secure satellite communications available to the US military, therefore the risk of a civilian drone going AWOL is significantly higher than their military cousins.

The urban environment is now a thick soup of signals and electronic transmissions, from Wi-Fi, to Mobile and Satellite signals, etc. Flying a drone into this environment is going to open it to the risk of signal loss and at that moment, it just might not do what you expect it to do, which may result in a scenario such as that above. Worse still, the drone may be subject to ‘payload hijack’ by criminal gangs and who knows how elaborate these schemes could become.

DHL DroneSome of these concerns were proven recently when a DHL drone delivery demonstration was called off by that ‘naysayer’- Mother Nature;

due to a sudden drop in temperature and accompanying snow which would make piloting the drone unreliable

This is a drone that was advertised as being “well-suited for use in mountain regions where snow, wind and cold temperatures are prevalent” can anyone else see the problem here?

 

So, if this is not the immediate future of drone delivery….what is?

At Faradair® we have long planned for our BEHA commuter aircraft to be ‘Drone/UAV’ capable and we see a different delivery model opportunity.

Amazon has just recently penned a deal to lease 20 Boeing 767 Freighter Aircraft, showing their intention to take over their entire logistic delivery process. Not good news for the likes of FedEx or UPS. However this was always somewhat inevitable and we foresee a drone delivery market where operators such as Amazon will take your order; goods then go from their warehoused facilities to the local airport, whereupon the Amazon cargo aircraft then fly to cargo hub airports such as East Midlands Airport in the UK (Much cheaper than trying to get a slot at Heathrow), before being sent out for further delivery by truck.

But what if the next step from arrival hub airport, saw packages unloaded into a fleet of BEHA drones instead of trucks? These six seat sized aircraft, with their short take-off and landing capability could then be sent off on an autonomous route, in a designated ‘air corridor’ for UAV’s.

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This takes the drone delivery flight away from major populace areas and the corridor would be clearly designated to other airspace users as a Drone flight channel. Due to the quiet flight capability of the BEHA, this operation could take place at night with no impact on the local populace. Upon arrival of the Drone at a local hub depot, local employed private couriers could then collect the parcels and deliver them 24/7. The UAV BEHA once unloaded then flies back to the main hub airport to reload with packages and head off to a different delivery venue.

 

The UAV industry has some 30-40 years of experience in drone operations and whilst there are some significant opportunities for drone delivery in the future, investors and fund managers need to consider the realistic constraints of UAV operations over any suburban populace and in that regard, at some point you will have to deal with the aviation authorities. The likes of the FAA, CAA, EASA and other regulatory authorities around the world, have a duty of care of the global airspace and the restrictions placed on manned helicopter operations in and around cities are most likely set to apply to heavy–lift, multi-rotor style delivery drones. If there is a chance that such a delivery drone may collide with a manned aircraft on approach to a major airport like Heathrow for example (i.e. collision avoidance failure on the drone), then the proposition will be pushed back even further.

Not that long ago, a drone almost collided with a military helicopter and despite the warnings, there are still grossly irresponsible people flying their small camera drones near airports. It is for these reasons that drone delivery in urban areas has a very long way to go and some of the hyperbole surrounding the subject matter is not helping to advance the principle. However, we believe there is a path for drone package/light freight delivery via traditional autonomous aircraft and it is an option that can be achieved sensibly and with the complete co-operation of regulatory authorities in the near future.

This subsector of UAV operations is an exciting opportunity area, so watch this space!

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Regards

Neil Cloughley

Managing Director – Faradair® Aerospace Limited