Egan Airships today presents PLIMP, a plummet-proof, plane-blimp hybrid UAS that can fly and hover while bringing advances in safety, visibility and mobility. PLIMP aircraft represent a brand new type of UAS that can manoeuvre and move quickly like fixed-wing aircraft, hover and vertically take off and land (VTOL) like a helicopter, and operate efficiently and safely like a blimp—all on a single platform.PLIMP aircraft can deliver forward speeds of more than 40 mph, with at least an hour of flight time. PLIMP aircraft are expected to be commercially available by Q1 2018.
PLIMP aircraft boast a patented streamlined envelope design, rotational wings, and an extended tail to corral the wake; and is powered on the wings and the tail. It offers an unpowered descent speed of only 9.5mph should engines fail, and smooth flight and acceleration for nearly stable platform filming.
PLIMP aircraft also take advantage of partial lift by helium which is not flammable and partial lift by its rotational wings. Due to its buoyancy, PLIMP aircraft are more efficient than helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft for surveillance and inspection operations.
With a length of 28 feet (still under 55 lbs.), PLIMP aircraft are highly visible for miles such that line-of-sight rules can be adhered to for much greater distances than conventional drones, and can easily integrate into the general aviation airspace. Its size also supports collision avoidance. PLIMP aircraft can be operated remotely by a pilot and flight technician, and do not require a runway or launch/recovery system to operate.
The operational efficiency of PLIMP aircraft offers a much more cost-effective option for a wide-range of applications and use-cases, such as advertising, when compared to traditional drones. PLIMP aircraft can carry any payload required for a specific mission, such as EO/IR cameras, multispectral camera systems, communication relays, and sensors for agriculture, pipeline, and power transmission line inspection.
In addition to advertising, PLIMP aircraft are targeted at a variety of applications where safety of the drone and people on ground or in the sky is a primary and foundational operating parameter. These include:
- Border Patrol
- Mining Operations
- Cinema and Commercial Filming
- Search and Rescue
- Cloud Seeding, and
- Search and Rescue Operational Support
- Communications Relay Support for remote areas or disaster areas
- Power Transmission Line Inspection
- Railway Line Inspection and Pipeline Inspection
- Pollution Monitoring and Inspection
- Fishing, Wildlife, and Forest Service Support/ Surveillance
- Forest Fire Fighting Prevention, Early Detection and Operational Support
- Mining Support
- Military and DoD Surveillance and Operational Support
“Technology advancements in carbon fiber composites, ultra-thin bladder materials and battery technologies have allowed PLIMP aircraft to meet drone performance objectives today. Based on the unique design, performance and minimal flight operation support requirements, we believe PLIMP aircraft are very cost competitive as compared to other drone platforms. Customers can take advantage of our current pricing incentives and priority scheduling for securing advance leases,” said Egan Air co-founder James Egan.
PLIMP will be regulated by the FAA under the Small Aircraft Regulations (Part 17). Exemptions for FAA approval to operate over people and at night are also in process.
Source: Press Release