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LaunchPoint Electric Propulsion Solutions, Inc. (“LaunchPoint”) collaborated with Offshore Aviation for a successful extended flight trial of the Dragonfly quadcopter.
Offshore tested their advanced unmanned aircraft, the OA-8C (ER) Dragonfly, fitted with LaunchPoint’s integrated 5.5 kW hybrid-electric HPS055 GenSet. With LaunchPoint’s flight-extending technology, the Dragonfly’s hover endurance increased to more than 90 minutes in 90-degree Fahrenheit ambient temperature conditions without refueling, effectively tripling the range of current battery-powered drones on the market. In both forward flight and in lower temperatures, endurance is expected to increase. The weight of the test configuration flown was reported at 28.1 kg (62 lbs) empty with 5.9 kg (13 lbs) of fuel. The total weight at take-off was 34.1 kg (75 lbs).
90 minute flight times are now possible
“We are excited to announce the success of our test flights of the 5.5 kW GenSets with our partner Offshore Aviation,” stated LaunchPoint CEO Rob Reali. “The trials’ results bring us a big step closer to hybrid-electric flight becoming a commercial reality. With the LaunchPoint Genset, flight time is increased over the incumbent all-electric design by 3x the duration from 30-minutes to a best-in-class time of 90-minutes with an increased payload. We plan to significantly increase that number soon. We’re targeting 4x the endurance or higher with our value engineering efforts in progress to achieve double digit improvements.”
LaunchPoint’s hybrid-electric GenSet are optimal flight solutions. The GenSets integrate their lightweight electric machines and controllers with engines to produce highly efficient and sophisticated electric power generators that are more power dense than comparable generators. An aircraft equipped with a LaunchPoint GenSet and battery pack enables more than three times the flight duration of those currently available while carrying the same or greater payloads. The HPS055 system produces 0.52 kW/kg continuous power with a peak power output of more than 7 kW using a recommended battery pack in parallel with the GenSet.
“The flight of our aircraft with LaunchPoint’s GenSet range-extending capabilities will greatly benefit our current and future defense and commercial clients, including creating new opportunities for use of our novel drones” said Robert Hicks, CEO of the Maryland-based maritime and aviation services company.
In November 2020, LaunchPoint launched its HPS400 (40 kW) GenSet concurrently with its first customer shipments to power large cargo drones and to accommodate future flying vehicle missions that require extended ranges of flight and large payloads. Their innovative technology offers new opportunities for companies in what is known as the Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) markets.
LaunchPoint plans its initial roll-out of GenSets for drone propulsion to the U.S. DoD, U.S. Coast Guard, the U.S. Forestry Service, and in general to the Department of Homeland Security, offering all entities the opportunity to expand their communication, surveillance and delivery capabilities while creating a safer, more reliable environment for those out in the field.
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