Inainte de toate, sa vorbim putin despre drona. Potrivit ARCA, este vorba despre primul UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) dintr-o adevarata familie de asemenea aparate de zbor. Air Strato are o anvergura de 16 metri, este dotat cu doua motoare electrice, care ar trebui sa-l duca la o altitudine de 18.000 de metri. Viteza de decolare ar fi pe la 50 km/h iar autonomia de 7 ore, folosind bateriile interne, sau 3 zile, cu panouri solare.
Pana aici, toate bune si frumoase, ba chiar ARCA ar merita niste laude pentru ceea ce a facut in conditiile din Romania.
La o privire mai atenta, drona Air Strato nu are cum sa nu ridice niste intrebari cat se poate de oneste. Pare extrem de fragila, submotorizata, trenul acela fix pare abia scos de la strung si cate si mai cate.
ARCA sustine ca drona a efectuat deja mai multe teste, inclusiv cele de rulaj pana la viteza desprinderii, insa imaginile date publicitatii pana acum sunt statice, cu o multime de curiosi dand ture UAV-ului.
Din exterior, la o prima, a doua si o a treia vedere, drona aceasta Air Strato pare o joaca de copii mari, departe de cifrele si performantele anuntate de ARCA. Este foarte posibil sa nu fie asa iar oamenii de acolo sa faca totusi ceva extraordinar. Dar pana nu apar macar cateva detalii suplimentare, e greu ca cineva din afara sa aiba o opinie favorabila.
Merita subliniat aici si un esec in campnia de comunicare a ARCA. Nu poti sa dai pe piata doua comunicate (in jumatate dintre ele fiind declaratia CEO-ului) si cinci poze si sa te astepti ca lumea sa le ia de bune si sa aplaude. Oamenii se intreaba, cu atat mai mult cu cat vorbim despre un proiect romanesc, iar frumos si profesionist ar fi fost ca cineva sa si raspunda.
Pana cand vom primi raspunsurile, avem dovada certa ca Air Strato poate sa stea pe roti chiar daca terenul e acoperit de zapada…
The aircraft is named Air Strato and is part of a larger UAV family that will carry out various missions for ARCA and our partners. The first prototype is completed and is already in testing. This is the largest version having a wingspan of 16m (52 ft) and is intended for stratospheric flights up to an altitude of 18 km. The aircraft is electrically powered and has autonomy of 7 hours on internal batteries and 3 days using solar panels. It can carry a payload of 30 kg consisting of aerial photography and surveillance equipment, scientific instruments or other payloads for various tasks including additional battery pods for extended autonomy. The other versions of Air Strato have a smaller wingspan and lower flight ceiling but higher maximum speed and larger payloads.
“Our activity requires that we perform stratospheric missions for our partners and clients, and solar and helium balloons we used until now, although capable of lifting heavier payloads to higher altitudes, are more expensive and time consuming in construction, are dependent on calm weather conditions and require aerial safety zones to be established. Air Strato can fill their roles much cheaper and reliable for an extended period of time and perform additional tasks for clients such as surveillance over a fixed area, telemetry testing and scientific experiments for extended period of time or other missions. It will make our entire aerospace activity much easier and less expensive.” Dumitru Popescu, ARCA, CEO.
If tests are successful ARCA is considering developing commercial versions of Air Strato and other UAV in the family.
ARCA performed a series of tests on rough ground for the Air Strato electrical powered unmanned aerial vehicle. The aircraft was accelerated to take-off speed to verify if the landing gear is able to hold on this type of runway. We also determined the required take-off distance. Air Strato has a very low take-off speed of about 50 km/h and can use any type of runway, including concrete, grass landing strips, even improvised runways covered with mud. The powerful electrical motors propel it to take off speed in a very short distance of max. 65m. This makes the aircraft able to be operated in a variety of conditions and the low take-off and landing distance make it possible utilise any flat strip of land available.
“We started with low speeds passes and gradually increased until we reached take-off speed. The electrical engines, in spite of there sizes, are very powerful and we reached 0 to 50 km/h in only 65 m. On concrete, the take-off speed was reached in only 50m. We haven’t installed wheel brakes yet so it took a while to come to a stop after engine cut-off. The runway was improvised by clearing the snow and leveling the ground a bit, but we didn’t do much more. Overall we are impressed on how well the aircraft performed.” said Dumitru Popescu, ARCA president.
Air Strato is a high altitude electrical powered unmanned aerial vehicle. It can reach altitudes of 18 km and has an autonomy of 7 hours on internal batteries and 3 days using solar panels. In can carry a payload of 30 kg consisting of surveillance equipment or other scientific instruments. A commercial version will be available for purchase. In Romania it will be available to private individuals and enterprises only.