Roadable VTOL Aircraft and Modular Cargo Systems

Advanced Tactics Inc., a small aerospace company, released details about its AT Transformer vehicle technology and announced that a full-scale technology demonstrator has completed its first driving tests.

The interior volume is comparable to a Blackhawk helicopter, making it well-suited for cargo missions as well. In 2012, Advanced Tactics began work on the AT Panther Transformer, a similar vehicle designed specifically for Special Operations missions. It is a low-cost vehicle that carries two passengers and their gear, is transportable in a CV-22 Osprey cargo hold, and is operable with minimal training. This vehicle is shown below and will be used to transport passengers to a remote location that is inaccessible by traditional air or ground based means.

The Black Knight and Panther Transformers both utilize the AT Transformer technology, which leverages the simplicity and robustness of a “multicopter” helicopter at a full-scale size. Like the small electric multicopters that are prevalent today, the AT Transformer uses engines with a direct drive connection to prop-rotors. The components of the propulsion system, including the engines and prop-rotors, are low-cost commercially available parts and the aircraft’s structure is made of modular field-replaceable components. Like an electric multicopter, the vehicle is stabilized and controlled by differential thrust between opposing sets of prop-rotors. This design is simple and robust, eliminating the mechanical complexity and cost of the articulated rotor system that stabilizes and controls a conventional helicopter and replacing it with a high-speed computerized feedback control system. Additionally, the configuration negates the need for a tail-rotor or engine transmission. The AT Transformer has the ability to perform controlled engine-out flight in case of a critical component failure.

The AT Black Knight Transformer, the world’s first roadable VTOL aircraft. It is designed to be a low-cost rapid response ambulance to evacuate wounded soldiers from the battlefield or transport cargo.

The operational concept design of the Black Knight Transformer is a streamlined aircraft that has been optimized for payload carrying and multi-mission capabilities. That vehicle will use turbo diesel engines and aerodynamic enhancements to provide a payload capacity of over 1,000 lbs or five passengers with a 250 nm range. Configured without the ground drivetrain, the aircraft can carry up to 1600 lbs of payload or eight passengers. The aircraft will cruise at a speed of 130 kts and drive at up to 70 mph. This highly capable vehicle will provide a safe, low-cost option for casualty evacuation, medical and cargo resupply, and other military or civil missions.

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