Inspenet, December 17, 2023.
Although drones offer a favorable alternative to manned aircraft in adverse weather conditions, it is clear that they are more beneficial to their operators when they avoid accidents. The ThunderFly TF-G1, a Czech-designed autogyro drone, was developed with this principle in mind.
Autogyros, also known as autogyros or gyrocopters, are small aircraft that feature a powered propeller for horizontal propulsion and a set of unpowered rotor blades on top. As the propeller propels the plane horizontally, air flows through the rotor blades, generating their rotation and producing lift.
This type of aircraft represents a fusion between a helicopter and a fixed-wing aircraft. Because of the way gyroplanes generate lift, they are significantly more energy efficient than helicopters, as well as being more maneuverable in terms of piloting.
They are also capable of maintaining stable flight at lower speeds than conventional fixed-wing aircraft, and their performance is less affected by strong winds and gusts. It is precisely in this context that the TF-G1 is presented.
Although it has several potential applications, this drone is specially designed for functions such as weather research and search and rescue operations. It can carry up to 5 kg (11 lb) of equipment, such as weather sensors and thermal cameras, and reportedly has the ability to fly for more than an hour on a charge of its lithium battery.
The TF-G1 has a service ceiling reaching 4,300 m (14,108 ft) above sea level, with a maximum takeoff weight of 25 kg (55 lb). It stands out for its ability to be launched from the roof of a car moving at high speed, as can be seen in the following video where its previous version, the TF-G2, performs this action.
An additional advantage is that its structure is manufactured using 3D printing and follows an open source approach, allowing users to make modifications according to their needs and share their ideas with the community.
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