Flowcopter’s heavy-lift UAV enters production after successful Danish trials

Flowcopter FC100 Heavylift Cargo Drone
Flowcopter says that the powertrain features an internal combustion engine paired with a unique, lightweight hydraulic transmission that powers four hydraulic motors to drive the rotor blades. Images courtesy Flowcopter

Flowcopter, a Scottish company specializing in utility Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (uUAVs), is poised to revolutionize the logistics and delivery industry with its novel heavy-lift UAV. The company has announced that their FC100 model, which utilizes a unique hydraulic transmission system, has successfully completed flight tests in Denmark and is now moving into production.

Innovative technology for enhanced performance

Flowcopter’s UAVs are distinct due to their use of an internal combustion engine coupled with a hydraulic transmission system to power the rotor blades. This configuration provides a high power-to-weight ratio, enabling the drone to carry heavier payloads over longer distances. Rob Menzies from Flowcopter explained, “This transmission technology gives the drone a high power to weight ratio allowing higher payloads to be delivered for longer distances. It also provides a high level of control to each of the four propellers.”

Impressive capabilities and specifications

The FC100 model, which underwent flight testing at the Hans Christian Andersen Airport in Odense, Denmark, showcases impressive capabilities. It has a maximum take-off weight of 450 kg (992 lb), including a payload capacity of 100 kg (220 lb), and can achieve a range of 100 km (62 miles). Designed to address the demand for versatile utility in uncrewed aerial vehicles, the FC100 can also handle lighter loads for longer endurance or heavier loads for shorter distances, making it a flexible solution for various applications.

Successful trials and production plans

Flowcopter’s FC100 has demonstrated its ability to carry 100 kg of cargo for a 200 km round trip, significantly enhancing logistics capabilities. The successful trials in Denmark have validated the design and performance of the UAV, allowing Flowcopter to move forward with production. The initial production run includes three units, with one already sold to a major aerospace original equipment manufacturer (OEM).

Flowcopter FC100 Heavylift Cargo Drone Flight Test
The FC100 heavy-lift UAV recently passed successful flight tests at Denmark’s Hans Christian Andersen Airport.

Expanding horizons with future models

Flowcopter is not stopping at the FC100. The company plans to develop a heavier variant capable of carrying over 350 kg (771 lb) by the end of the year. Additionally, they are working on securing flight test authorization for a UK demonstration by June, further expanding their operational reach.

Flowcopter FC100 Heavylift Cargo Drone Size
Flowcopter team members stand beside the sizable FC100 UAV, showcasing its impressive scale and robust design.

Market applications and impact

The FC100’s design addresses the needs of markets traditionally reliant on helicopters, such as search and rescue logistics and humanitarian aid. However, its utility extends beyond these sectors. The UAV has attracted interest from various industries, including offshore wind farm operations, agriculture, and urban air mobility (UAM). By offering a lower-cost, robust, and versatile alternative to helicopters and ferries, Flowcopter’s UAVs open up new possibilities in logistics scheduling and delivery.

Flowcopter FC100 Heavylift Cargo Drone Take-off
Flowcopter has completed prototype testing for the FC100 UAV and finalized its design for production.

Source: Flowcopter