There are plenty of autonomous drones, but what about helicopters? Meet the Kawasaki K-Racer. Put simply, it’s essentially a compound helicopter sporting two small wings with motors on either side of the chassis for forward flight and a horizontal stabilizer rotor. It’s capable of flying at high speeds that were not technically possible for conventional helicopters. When in forward flight, the main wings share lift, thus reducing the load on the main rotor, which has a diameter of 157.4 inches. Read more for a video and additional information.
The prototype was developed by the Aerospace Systems Company, and is powered by the supercharged Kawaasaki Ninja H2R motorcycle engine. It successfully completed a test flight at the Taiki-cho Multi-purpose Aviation Park in Hokkaido, Japan. Unfortunately, there’s no word yet on if a consumer model is in the works.
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We have been introducing a wide range of helicopters, including the BK117 helicopter series, which plays an active role for firefighting, disaster prevention, and EMS (Emergency Medical Service) purposes. We will use the results obtained from this test for the development of VTOL (vertical take-off and landing) vehicles, including manned/unmanned helicopters, and for the development of aircraft operation systems in conjunction with various services,” said the company.