Tier 1 Engineering announced today that its battery-powered manned helicopter program achieved a successful first hover on Tuesday, September 13th, a first hover taxi on Wednesday, September 14th and a record five minute cruise flight to 400 feet altitude with a peak speed of 80 knots on Wednesday, September 21st. The helicopter was a modified Robinson R44 test piloted by Captain Ric Webb of OC Helicopters.
All flights were accomplished at the Los Alamitos Army Airfield under a special airworthiness certificate in the experimental category issued by FAA’s Los Angeles MIDO. Tier 1 Engineering accomplished the project under contract from Lung Biotechnology PBC to produce an Electrically-Powered Semi-Autonomous Rotorcraft for Organ Delivery (EPSAROD).
“I’m very pleased to achieve this historic breakthrough in aviation,” said Glen Dromgoole, President of Tier 1 Engineering. “Never before has a manned helicopter performed a vertical takeoff, cruise and landing solely on battery power, and we are thrilled to have further achieved 400 feet altitude and 80 knots during our first full test flight.”
The Tier 1 Engineering team designed and integrated all of the helicopter sub-systems, which included 1100 pounds of Brammo Lithium Polymer batteries, twin electric motors and a control system from Rinehart Motion Systems. The historic five-minute flight on September 21st drained approximately 20% of the battery energy. Documentation of the flight is available at www.tier1engineering.com/news
Lung Biotechnology PBC intends to apply the EPSAROD technology to distributing manufactured organs for transplantation to major hospitals with much less noise and carbon footprint than current technology. Tier 1 Engineering is an aircraft design and development company with operations in Costa Mesa, California, and Victoria, Australia.