Pipistrel accepting orders for Nuuva autonomous cargo aircraft
The highly customizable autonomous aircraft can carry up to 460 kg, is easy and economical to operate, and offers the efficiency and reliability of electric powertrains, Pipistrel says on its website. Entry into service is planned for the second half of 2023.
The Nuuva series is aimed at combining the best of aeroplanes and helicopters in air cargo transportation. Nuuvas will go where no aeroplane is able to, while its hybrid configuration allows it to operate at a fraction of the cost of a helicopter on an equivalent mission, the company says.
The Nuuva V300, whose cargo compartment can be loaded with up to three Euro-pallets, flies a preloaded flight plan fully autonomously, controlled by a digital flight control system. Continuous communication allows the ground operator to manage the vessel with mouse-clicks, and gives them control in case of changes or cancellation of the flight.
The Nuuva V300 takes-off and lands using eight independent battery-powered Pipistrel E-811 electric engines and the whole system is safeguarded by the integrated health self-monitoring system that alerts of any potential malfunction even before it occurs.
An internal combustion engine in the aft fuselage powers the aircraft in cruise flight, while a tandem-wing configuration with fly-by-wire control surfaces boosts the aerodynamic efficiency to reduce the landing footprint of the vehicle.
According to Pipistrel, the Nuuva V300 can be customized for a wide range of missions through adjustments to the vessel's payload capacity and anti-ice capabilities. If adjusted, it can transport 50 kg of cargo for 2,500 km to the altitudes of up to 2,500 metres above sea level. At lower take-off altitudes and with shorter mission requirements, the payload can be increased to up to 460 kg.
The smaller sibling of the Nuuva family, the V20, shares the same architecture as V300 but is designed as a lightweight cargo courier carrying payloads of up to 20 kg. First customers will be able to take deliveries as early as 2021.