Wind developers will find good news from Aeros, developer of the Aeroscraft, a heavy lift vehicle intended in part to carry large components such as towers, nacelles, and rotor blades to construction sites, especially those with difficult ground access. The company announced late last year that Government “high fidelity testing” and demonstrations have been completed successfully within budget and a month ahead of schedule. High fidelity refers to an expansion on prior testing in which data acquisition is part of the flight objectives. Tests were made on the Dragon Dream, a scaled-down non-deployable Aeroscraft built as a technology demonstration platform and engineering test bed.
These high fidelity tests and demos, requested by the U.S. government under the Pentagon’s ‘Project Pelican’ Program, demonstrated the readiness of the Aeroscraft.
Testing included taxi tests of the vehicle’s air bearing landing system and its clever internal ballasting system – Control-Of-Static-Heaviness – as well as of the vehicle’s low speed controls. While conducting these tests, Aeros team members (www.aeroscraft.com) have also been finalizing pilot ergonomic optimization alongside flight crew training.
“These high fidelity tests and demos, requested by the U.S. government under the Pentagon’s ‘Project Pelican’ Program, demonstrated the readiness of the Aeroscraft, a variable buoyancy air vehicle, to transition forward into initial serial production,” says Aeros’ CEO Igor Pasternak.
Additional out-of-hangar flight demonstrations are expected to finish on the scaled-down Aeroscraft vehicle, which will be conducted to further test sub-system integration and performance, and ultimately accelerate fleet development. Aeros has announced initial fleet development plans for 22 full-sized, globally-deployable Aeroscrafts in two configurations, one for airlifting 66 tons and one for 250-tons.
The Aeroscraft features a proprietary internal buoyancy management that compresses inert helium within to overcome traditional requirements for external ballast exchange when unloading cargo from lighter-than-air vehicles. This eliminates need for ground personnel and infrastructure, and allows VTOL flight at maximum payload.
The company envisions solving shipping problems for major industries around the world including energy production, wind farm development, military, humanity, energy exploration, and mining among others.
Aeros plans to have the first if its initial fleet of 22 vehicles ready for operation in FY 2016 following FAA type certification. This fleet will generally operate on a lease model, providing client services including aircraft, crew, maintenance, and insurance. WPE
Also read: What Works in Aerospace Can Work in Wind