Eurocopter has successfully completed the unmanned flight of its helicopter EC145. The flight was able to complete its mission of deploying external sling load and observation. The flight plan consisting of multiple way points was uploaded into the helicopter. After automatically taking off, without pilot, the aircraft followed the way points. However, during the mid-flight the ground crew remotely took over the control to deliver the payload using an external sling. The helicopter then automatically landed after completing its course. The helicopter had internal cameras so that crew on the ground can see the inside view of the helicopter. While external gimballed cameras on the helicopter, can be used for infrared and daylight remote sensing applications.
“This latest achievement results from our company’s expertise in flight control and autopilot systems, human-machine interface, system architecture and integration,” Eurocopter chief technical officer Jean-Brice Dumont stated. The company is now planning to make the unmanned functionality of the aircraft commercial.