A heavy unmanned helicopter would be invaluable for operations at highly dangerous sites, such as the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, providing another avenue to address the problem with a greater measure of safety. Technology for pilotless rotorcraft is already in place but so far has been applied only to micro drones and relatively light rotorcraft.
Piasecki Aircraft and Carnegie Mellon University have successfully flight tested a new navigation and sensor package on an unmanned Boeing AH-6 Little Bird helicopter that allows it to autonomously avoid dynamic, low-altitude obstacles, select suitable unmapped landing sites, and land using self-generated approach paths.
Piasecki Aircraft and Carnegie Mellon University have successfully flight tested a new navigation and sensor package on an unmanned Boeing AH-6 Little Bird helicopter that allows it to avoid low-altitude obstacles, select suitable unmapped landing sites and land using self-generated approach paths. The Army-funded system was developed to allow unmanned helicopters to evacuate or resupply soldiers from combat zones.
Helicopter pioneer Frank Piasecki, who died two weeks ago at age 88, leaves behind a lasting legacy in the rotorcraft world. Piasecki is well known for developing the Army’s CH-47 Chinook and the Navy’s CH-46 Sea Knight twin-rotor helicopters, which are both now built by Boeing’s rotorcraft division in eastern Pennsylvania.
Retrofit technology that could turn the Pentagon’s fleet of Black Hawks and other helicopters into 200-knot, high-altitude speedsters, and later be applied to the civil market, is one step closer to reality.
Frank Piasecki, president and founder of Piasecki Aircraft, has been awarded the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum’s Lifetime Achievement Trophy. A reception was held at a Senate office building in Washington, D.C., followed by
a ceremony at the museum, where Piasecki was presented with the award.