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Meet Heaviside, U.S. Air Force’s Future Electric and Autonomous Aircraft

The U.S. Air Force is one step closer to officially integrating eVTOLs in its activities. The first operational exercise in the Agility Prime project demonstrated that an electric aircraft can be successfully used in search-and-rescue type mission.
Heaviside conducted medical evacuation maneuvers and autonomous flights in Agility Prime exercise 8 photos
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Its name gives you the wrong idea – Heaviside is actually meant to be a small, fast and quiet electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) vehicle. Developed by California-based Kitty Hawk, it was recently the star of a medical evacuation exercise, conducted by the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL)’s technology directorate, AFWERX.

The AFWERX Agility Prime program shows USAF’s commitment to introducing eVTOLs in its future fleet. Starting with this first exercise and continuing with several others over the next few months, AFWERX intends to get closer to the commercialization phase, by gathering all the data that is required for developing the future product.

Industry representatives, government operators, engineers and test professionals joined forces for this first demonstration. It was time for Heaviside to prove that it can be reliable, fast and effective in operations where these assets are essential. It performed medical evacuation maneuvers, personnel recovery, and logistics – and the test was a success. Plus, the green aircraft showed off its capabilities in fully autonomous flights.

Equipped with 8 variable-pitch electric propellers, this single-passenger aircraft is quick and reliable, and can take off and land in a 30 foot by 30 foot area that can be unpaved. It’s capable of reaching a top speed of 180 mph (289 kph) and offers an impressive 100-mile range with reserves, on a single charge. And it does all this without burning any harmful fossil fuels and by using less than half the energy per mile, than a typical electrical car. On top of all this, Heaviside is actually light on noise - it’s 100 times quieter than a helicopter and its sound can barely be detected by the human ear.

With so many excellent features, it’s no wonder that Kitty Hawk’s Heaviside is the best model for USAF’s future prototype eVTOL.



press release
 
 
 
 
 

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