Introducing the QuadRKT (or Quad Rocket), a drone the combines the best qualities found in a quadcopter and fixed-wing glider. The QuadRKT flies both horizontally and vertically with surprising speed and agility; it even offers a First Person View (FPV) option.
The design of small UAVs usually falls into one of two categories: the cruciform quadcopter (with extra arms added as necessary) and the fixed-wing glider (such as early iterations of Google’s delivery drones). However, there’s still room for innovation in this market, as demonstrated by the QuadRKT: a quadcopter drone with a rocket-shaped fuselage that can hovers vertically, but also switch to a horizontal orientation when it needs to go really fast.
The design goals of the QuadRKT were lofty, but it seems QuadRKT team delivered.
An aircraft that could take-off and hover in a “nose-up” configuration and then pitch over into “missile-mode” would be faster and more efficient than both helicopters and fixed-wing airplanes. This is the new capability our QuadRKT platform brings the US government, private companies, and now hobbyists. The design requires no complicated mechanisms to transition between hover mode and “missile mode” flight and back again. The wings do not need to be sized for take-off and landing so they are smaller and simpler than a comparable fixed-wing airplane’s wings. That means less weight and less drag which result in longer flight times and higher top speed
So just how fast can we expect the QuadRKT to fly? Unofficially 133 miles per hour.
There are a lot of big claims being made by QuadRKT, particularly that the design has the “lowest drag coefficient of any quadcopter out there” and that the smallest model has set unofficial speed records of 133 miles per hour.
Pretty impressive stuff, even when you consider that the basic design isn’t exactly 100% new. If you’d like to own and operate a QuadRKT, the head over to Kickstarter and show your support. Hopefully enough people participate in the crowd-funding effort because it’s still unclear if the product is commercially viable.
The team behind QuadRKT certainly has an interesting product on their hands, but it’s not clear if it’s commercially viable. The cheapest QuadHWK on the company’s Kickstarter is still pretty pricey, and the target audience — hobbyist quadcopter racers — aren’t exactly the biggest around. There’s also no mention of the quad’s potential for surveillance or delivering packages — two applications where speed would be useful. Even a revolutionary new aircraft design will fail if it can’t find a place in the market.
Commercially viable or not, if the QuadRKT goes in the production, I’m going to have to get my hands on one.