Robotic Helicopter Landing Gear Will Make Helicopter Rescue Safer And Easier

We are super into the best RC helicopters.

Helicopters are a useful tool for search and rescue, but they have their limitations. But DARPA and the University of Georgia are working on fixing that. First up, landing gear; the helicopters of the future will be getting a substantial infusion of robots.

Robocopter

The issue at hand is, essentially, you can’t land a helicopter on anything other than a perfectly flat surface. It’s impossible for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that even the slightest jostle close to land can slam it right into the ground. That’s horribly unsafe, to say the least, and part of the reason is the landing skids, long, straight poles that are more or less useless in this situation. So the University of Georgia and DARPA built robotic legs for helicopters that allow them to settle on slopes of up to twenty degrees, on rocky terrain, boulder-strewn messes, and other problematic turf. The legs feel out the turf underneath the helicopter and put it on an even footing with the ground. Even better, it will allow helicopters to land in rougher weather and reduce the overall stress on the airframe, which is a good thing when you have a vehicle whose main method of floating has a part called the Jesus bolt. As in, if it fails, you’re meeting Jesus.

Heli-Legs

Darpa Helicopter Robot LegsAlso, it’ll be easy to add to helicopters, as it won’t add much weight to the vehicle. Which, again, is kind of important with extremely light aircraft. This is still be tested with full-sized craft; they’re still using smaller drones and other helicopters. But as it’s scaled up, it’ll be useful for a whole multitude of helicopters, and make things safer.

Dan Seitz

Dan Seitz is an obsessive nerd living in New England. He lives in the Boston area with a fiancee, a dog, a cat, and far too many objects with processors.

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