May 13, 2023

PRESS RELEASE: FHE’s AeroBeacon Program

by Tameika McKeever in Press Release

Introducing FHE’s AeroBeacon Program

Flighthouse Engineering (FHE) has launched the AeroBeacon Program to develop a scalable, modular demonstration platform that can be used to showcase our company capabilities, and to collaborate with our partners in the Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) development space.  

Flighthouse uses a proprietary aircraft design process combining internally developed and commercially available tools to deliver best in class autonomous aircraft designs.  Our process includes a complete development tool chain for the design, analysis and testing of new aircraft – with a specialization in distributed electric and VTOL platforms.  Combined with our mechanical design, prototyping, and test capabilities, Flighthouse is able to develop sophisticated and high performance aircraft from concept to flight on rapid timelines.

For the Aerobeacon Program, Flighthouse has identified what it considers to be “Configurations of Interest”.  These are vehicle configurations that exemplify the features and performance that will be required in the next generation of VTOL and eVTOL UAS, and that allow us to demonstrate the strengths of our aircraft design tool chain.  

Key configuration attributes:

  • High performance to enable longer missions and more useful payload
  • Redundancy that allows continued operability with any single component failure
  • A balanced approach to complexity (ie. “Smart Articulation”)
  • Reuse of propulsion elements for VTOL and Conventional Flight
  • Distributed electric propulsion, enabling flexible power plant options

Shown below are the initial Configurations of Interest that FHE has selected for development as part of the Aerobeacon Program.  All three vehicles have the same aerodynamic planform, but each showcases a different VTOL rotor topology.  The modular configuration allows us to emulate multiple vehicle configurations, making this a useful development platform for aircraft across a wide range of vehicle applications and classes (eg. MGTOW 50 lbs → 5000 lbs).

Above are the ‘6-tilt-4’, ‘8-tilt-4’, and ‘10-tilt-6’ versions of our FV-21 platform. 

Flighthouse has designed and fabricated an initial demonstrator aircraft designated FV-21, capable of demonstrating all three initial Configurations of Interest.  FV-21, a 55lbs MGTOW aircraft, will showcase FHE’s rapid aircraft prototyping capabilities as well as the critical mechanical features of the vehicle.  Extensive ground and flight testing of FV-21 will enable FHE to validate our design process on a platform that allows the results to be shared with customers and partners, as well as providing a platform on which our partners can do the same.

The Aerobeacon Program will ultimately provide an unaffiliated, open architecture platform to enable subsystem developers to test and demonstrate their products and technologies on a representative UAS platform – without any conflicts of interest or contractual constraints.  FV-21 is designed to be a flexible platform into which new subsystem or technology elements can be quickly, easily, and economically incorporated.  To showcase these collaboration opportunities, Flighthouse is currently working with two strategic partners to incorporate their respective avionics and flight controls solutions into FV-21.  We look forward to sharing more on both of these efforts in the coming months.

As we continue the Aerobeacon Program we look forward to providing regular updates on our progress.  It is our hope that through collaboration with partners, and by sharing the results of our development and testing, we are able to help improve future UAS products across our industry. #AeroBeacon, #FV-21.