A Unique Transforming Drone, Transwing, With Folding Wings, Is Capable of Landing on Any Moving Platform

Ptero­dy­nam­ics teamed up with the US Navy to con­duct sea tri­als of the Tran­swing, a VTOL drone with fold­ing wings, demon­strat­ing its abil­i­ty to autonomous­ly land on a mov­ing plat­form. Its fold­ing wings pro­vide excep­tion­al range and pay­load capac­i­ty.

Tran­swing design, an unusu­al approach that offers sig­nif­i­cant advan­tages. At its core it is a tran­si­tion­al eVTOL air­frame with cruise capa­bil­i­ty, but the way it changes shape between hov­er and cruise modes makes it one of the most promis­ing drones around.

Its wings fold from ful­ly extend­ed in the hor­i­zon­tal plane to tucked to the sides in the ver­ti­cal plane, like a swept wing crossed with a slant­ed one. The four pro­pellers, spaced across the wings, are locked in place and rotate from a com­plete­ly hor­i­zon­tal posi­tion to an upward ver­ti­cal posi­tion when the wings are fold­ed.

The drone is com­pact on the ground, but has a huge wingspan in the air. There is no addi­tion­al weight of inclined propul­sion sys­tems or addi­tion­al weight and drag of a lift-cruise struc­ture whose lift pro­pellers are use­less in cruise mode. The rear ends of the propul­sion nacelles serve as land­ing points, sav­ing addi­tion­al weight on the legs or land­ing gear.

This makes it the light­est VTOL tran­si­tion glid­er design with the high­est lift and low­est drag, giv­ing it a new lev­el of effi­cien­cy that increas­es pay­load and range.

The Tran­swing drone can be packed into a box or crate for trans­port in a com­pact VTOL mode, ready to fly. You don’t even need to remove the pro­pellers, the blades fold back into the nacelles when not spin­ning, mean­ing you can trav­el with just two pro­pellers to fur­ther improve effi­cien­cy and range.

Ptero­dy­nam­ics has built a num­ber of pro­to­types, the cur­rent mod­el being the X‑P4 with a 4m wingspan. It is capa­ble of lift­ing a 6.8kg pay­load with a max­i­mum take-off weight of 38kg, and then cov­er­ing a dis­tance of 111km at an hour’s cruis­ing speed. It can reach a top speed of 185 km/h.

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