The Leonardo "Solo" aircraft is a Rotary Unmanned Air System/Optionally Piloted Helicopter derived from the SW-4 helicopter.
|Leonardo SW-4 Solo optionally piloted helicopter successfully completed its maiden flight with no safety pilot onboard.|
Leonardo announced today that the SW-4 Solo optionally piloted helicopter successfully completed its maiden flight with no safety pilot onboard at Taranto-Grottaglie Airport (Southern Italy). The aircraft flew for 45 minutes and all systems performed as expected with excellent controllability and handling qualities. Tests included, among others, remote engine start up and shut down with ground run, automatic take-off and landing, hovering OGE (Out of Ground Effect) and acceleration to forward flight, automatic way point navigation to and from the area of operation and simulation of a surveillance mission. The aircraft reached an altitude of 1500 ft and up to 60 knots airspeed during the flight.
Earlier activities in Italy were part of a collaboration started in 2015 between Leonardo, Aeroporti di Puglia (AdP) and the Distretto Tecnologico Aerospaziale Pugliese (DTA) for the “Grottaglie Test Bed”, which is a candidate to become the Italian solution for national and European industry demands for unmanned aircraft testing. The validation of procedures and regulations for the use of unmanned aircraft are among its key objectives. The trials benefitted from the strong collaboration with ENAC (the Italian Civil Aviation Authority) and ENAV (the Italian Air Navigation Service Provider). The SW-4 Solo had also been involved in other successful demonstrations in Italy and the UK.
Source, Image: Leonardo