Helicopters Leonardo SW-4 completes maiden solo flight without safety pilot

  • Leonardo

Helicopter manufacturer Leonardo has announced today, that its SW-4 has completed first solo flight. The flight was accomplished without safety pilot.

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The aircraft mastered its 45-minute-long solo flight at Taranto-Grottaglie Airport (Southern Italy), without having a safety pilot on board.

During the maiden flight, a remote engine start-up and shut down was performed. Furthermore, an automatic take-off and landing, the acceleration and hovering OGE (Out of Groud Effect) was tested. The aircraft navigated itself with automatic way point navigation from the area of operation. During the simulation of a surveillance mission, the SW-4 reached speeds of up to 60 knots and an altitude of 1500ft.

Alessandro Profumo, Leonardo CEO, said: “This latest achievement provides further evidence of Leonardo’s leading role in Europe in developing ‘unmanned’ air systems, a sector in which we’re committed to expanding our already significant presence. I would also like to thank Grottaglie Airport and the aviation authorities for their contribution to the successful achievement of this milestone.”

As being a Rotary Unmanned Air System/Optionally Piloted Helicopter (RUAS/OPH), the SW-4 is equipped with special systems and sensors. The aircraft is designed for operations with or without pilot on board.

To validate operational features, test campaigns started at Grottaglie in December 2016. Leonardo tested the aircraft´s capabilities under both normal and emergency circumstances.

Source © leonardocompany.com

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