GenSmart and Walkera Flying Hybrid Drone can fly over an hour!
Walkera and GenSmart have beefed up professional QR X900 hexacopter with a methanol-fueled range extending generator to promise flight times over an hour.
Chinese drone manufacturer Walkera has decided to go beyond the battery, teaming up with micro-generator producers at GenSmart to build a new hybrid powertrain for its QR X900 professional heavy lifter. This beefy hexacopter is equipped with battery power in conjunction with a single range extender – an ultra-lightweight GenSmart methanol.This tiny, efficient methanol motor charges the battery during flight, allowing long flight times and instant refueling and it can be switched off so the drone can operate in “stealth mode” when necessary.
This new hybrid extender ( the result of a partnership between Walkera and GenSmart ) weighs about 2.6 pounds and generates 1,500 watts at peak capacity. Walkera says the breakthrough will give the QR X900 more than an hour of flight time. If the engine is too noisy or vibey for your application, you can switch it off to operate in “stealth mode” and run on battery power alone for up to around 16 minutes. Plus, instead of several hours on a charger, you can simply fill up the fuel tank and get back in the air.
Beyond the power system, the QR X900 is a collapsible, folding heavy lift professional grade hexacopter with retractable carbon fiber landing legs. Designed for professional photography, the QR X900 retails for $4,399. To protect such an expensive investment, the drone sports a parachute system that deploys either manually or when it detects an out-of-control situation with an inclination over 80 degrees.GPS and barometric stabilization are included, as well as a gimbal large enough to hold a Canon 5D MkIII camera. It’s pitched at agricultural, fire, surveying, research and security applications.
Extending flight time has become the Holy Grail for the drone industry. British firm Intelligent Energy unveiled a hydrogen-fuel-cell power extender at CES 2016 and the company says the device will offer several hours of flight time for drones as opposed to the typical range of 15-30 minutes for many UAV models. In May, Horizon Unmanned Systems (HUS) unveiled the Hycopter drone – a model that runs on a lightweight hydrogen fuel cell that company officials say will deliver up to 4 hours of flight time unloaded, and 2.5 hours when it’s carrying 2.2 pounds of cargo.