Advanced Tactics has successfully completed the first flight test of the Black Knight Transformer, a modular and roadable vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) aircraft.
The patented AT Transformer technology combines the capabilities of a helicopter, such as the ability to take off and land anywhere, with the capabilities of an off-road automobile. The AT Black Knight Transformer completed driving tests in December 2013 and completed its first flight tests in March 2014. The Black Knight Transformer is the world’s largest multicopter that is controlled and stabilized with propeller speed. The aircraft has a maximum takeoff weight of 4,400 lb.
Black Knight Transformer. Photo courtesy of Advanced Tactics
The flight test was performed at a private location in Southern California and the aircraft was remotely piloted for safety. The stability and attitude of the aircraft was controlled entirely by the autopilot. The only commands from the remote (human) pilot were to increase or decrease power. Outrigger landing gear was attached to the aircraft to prevent it from rolling over in case of any mishaps. The aircraft completed multiple short hover flights. Although the aircraft is capable of hovering at thousands of feet above the ground, the altitude was limited to less than 10 feet above the ground for safety. The aircraft was stable, controllable, and performed as expected. An electric quadcopter drone was used to capture aerial footage of the flights.