HAI Convention News

Helo UAV turning heads here

 - March 15, 2007, 10:30 AM

First-time Heli-Expo exhibitor Cybaero (Booth No. 150) is attracting a lot of attention with a tiny helicopter UAV powered by a rotary diesel engine. The Apid Vantage UAV has a removable nose for quick swapping of payloads, an electric tail rotor and three-blade rotor system.

It can be flown by an operator or set to fly on a preprogrammed route using its built-in autopilot. The nose payload system can mount video and infrared camera systems, contaminant sensors and other systems datalinked to ground stations. Five Apid 55 models are currently being used in Sweden, Norway and the United Arab Emirates for power-line inspection and surveillance, according to Cybaero president Peter Muhlrad. Cybaero is offering the Apid Vantage for offshore industry uses such as pipeline inspection, climate-change analysis and oil-platform inspection.

The Apid Vantage can fly at a maximum weight of about 350 pounds and carries 170 pounds of diesel fuel, which allows a range of three to five hours, depending on the weight of the payload. Cost of the Apid Vantage ranges from $300,000 to $400,000 and about $1 million with nose payload.

“It’s our first time at Heli-Expo,” said Muhlrad. “We want to inform operators and users that here’s another option.” He said there has been much more traffic at the Cybaero booth than the company expected.