Hummingbird flies to new record

Boeing’s A160T Hummingbird unmanned rotorcraft recently completed its longest flight to date after accumulating over 12-hours in the air.

Boeing’s A160T Hummingbird unmanned rotorcraft recently completed its longest flight to date after accumulating 12-hours of airborne testing.

The turbine-powered A160T (below) took off just after mid-morning on October 12 at a site near Victorville, California, and landed 12.1 hours later. The aircraft carried a 500-pound (226.79kg) payload at an altitude of 5,000 feet (1,524m), simulating a multi-sensor operational mission.

Boeing claims the flight used less than 60 percent of the aircraft’s maximum fuel and attributed this to the A160’s design, including its optimum speed rotor.

The 12-hour flight followed an eight-hour flight on September 27 during which the Hummingbird carried a 1,000-pound (453.6kg) payload.

Boeing now plans to fly the aircraft for 18 consecutive hours with a 300-pound (136kg) payload.