Paris Air Show

UAV paraglider could replace current drones

 - June 19, 2007, 5:49 AM

French-based Flying Robots is here showing an unusual unmanned air vehicle (UAV) that looks like a paraglider with a powered payload. According to company president Michel Lallement, the FR101 is a low-cost alternative to conventional drones.

“Our wing makes the aircraft very stable,” Lallement said. At takeoff, a ground crew of two is needed. One unfolds the wing; the other is at the control station. The 100-hp Rotax engine and its propeller then blow on to the wing, which lifts off. The rest of the flight can be automated. The FR101 features a payload of 550 pounds.

Flying Robots recently signed an agreement with NGO Aviation Sans Frontières (ASF) to lend the company an UAV for four months. “ASF thus finds the missing link after it delivers parcels from bigger aircraft, such as Cessna Caravans,” Lallement explained. The NGO has found it difficult having medicine delivered in a timely manner to the final user.

In development is the Téléporteur, a simpler and even more automated UAV. The idea is to use it as a shuttle between points. For example, an NGO could deliver parcels without worrying about possible hijacking on the ground. The Téléporteur’s programmed navigation system will be locked on a given trip.

The FR101 sells for €300,000 ($405,000). The Téléporteur is expected to be much cheaper–“priced like a big SUV,” Lallement told Aviation International News. Flying Robots can be found on Stand B1-C1 in Hall 6 and on the static display, close to Halls 2A and 2B and next to General Electric’s chalet.