Boeing, Korean Air Partner on Combat Helo Drones

By Jonathan Ray | November 1, 2016
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Korean Air's aerospace division and Boeing have renewed a project to convert some South Korean military helicopters into unmanned aerial systems (UAS).

The companies signed a memorandum of agreement at Korean Air's Seoul headquarters. The agreement calls for the development of unmanned aircraft by converting MH 500MD Defense helicopters.

Per the agreement, Boeing will provide technical support for flight control and other data, as well as for test evaluations. Both companies are also set to implement an overseas joint marketing program.


This agreement comes after Korean Air successfully completed a remodel of the ROK Air Force's retired 500MDs to unmanned rotorcraft from 2014 to May of this year. Now, Korean Air has launched a new project to remodel the 500MDs into unmanned, armed aircraft. The project will run until 2017.

The combat aircraft will be able to perform day and night reconnaissance and surveillance missions, as well as conduct short-distance precision strikes.

Maryland University Flies First Solar-Powered Helo

A team of University of Maryland (UMD) students made history after it flew a piloted, solar-powered helicopter for the first time. The aircraft, composed of a cabin frame, four rotors and eight blades, flew for nine seconds and got more than 1 foot off the ground.

Team Gamera was formed in 2012 by UMD students inspired by the American Helicopter Society's Sikorsky Prize. At that time, the goal was to engineer a human-powered helicopter. Once that goal was met, the team in 2014 reinvented itself into Solar Gamera, with the goal of taking the helicopter from human power to solar power.

Two years later, Solar Gamera reached its goal, with materials science major and team member Michelle Mahon in the cockpit.

Although the students recognize that the helicopter may never see long-distance flight, the program provides a unique, hands-on learning experience. More than 100 students from across the UMD A. James Clark School of Engineering have been a part of the Gamera team.

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