We all are Batman fans and those who consider themselves not to be fans of Batman need to go on a self realization journey. Seriously, take a break and think about what you’re doing! How can you not like Batman? We find it impossible to not like him. All those techniques he uses, the Batman glare and all those mysterious gadgets. However, what truly gets us in that ‘awe-moment’ are his rides. Batmobile and Batwing sure look spectacular. Recently the Batwing was featured in “The Dark Knight Rises” where it flew quite majestically over the streets of Gotham. Our today’s article is about one such real life Batwing known as AirMule VTOL (Vertical Takeoff and Landing). It is a prototype aircraft which has exhibited its capabilities to take off without any human help and a full autonomous mission demonstration is on its way soon enough.
This invention comes from the Israel’s Tactical Robotics Ltd. and is capable of flying autonomously or alternately, one may use a remote control. There is no room for any onboard pilot and among many other intended uses, it will be used to complete extraction of the wounded from battlefields.
As of now, it weighs around 770 Kg and is capable of catering for a payload of 640 Kg while being able to attain an altitude of 12,000 ft and a speed of 112 Mph. Let’s move to the cooler part,it has the ability to take off and land vertically. It has internal rotor blades that allow it to land and take off within an area of 40 square meters. To add more to its coolness, the internal rotor blades are much quieter when compared to that of a helicopter which adds to the stealth of AirMule.
The latest tests included our Batwing taking off, flying to the end of runway, turning on the spot and flying back to its starting point and this all was performed autonomously. The altitude was maintained by employing two laser altimeters. We’ve heard that a radar altimeter will be incorporated soon enough too. Use of GPS, navigation system and optical reference on the ground was made as well to achieve the required task.
A second prototype is under construction and hopefully, we’ll be enjoying a full mission demonstration sometime next year.