This remote controlled modular airplane is a real transformer

From transporting people to rescue operations, the Flexcraft module can be swapped out to suit any situation. This versatile, fully electric aircraft is only 13 meters long and can accommodate nine passengers.

The project is the result of a Portuguese consortium led by companies and institutions in the fields of industrial design, aeronautical engineering, process engineering and aircraft construction. They worked together to develop a Short Take-off and Landing Vehicle (STOL) with a full-size cabin that could be remotely controlled.

This year, on January 28, Instituto Superior Técnico hosted the Flexcraft project, a modular aircraft that allows cabin reconfiguration for different flight scenarios. It could be used as a “multimodal pod” for logistics operations, as an “airborne deployment” for search and rescue operations, and as a “hub feeder” for general aviation operations. The fact that it can be transformed makes it possible to reduce operating time on the ground and increase intermodality capacity.

Participants were able to see the modularity of Flexcraft during the event by viewing a life-size mockup of the fuselage and cabin through a virtual reality experience.

Last month, on the occasion of the victory of the International Design Awards (IDA) in the Transport Design category, the Brazilian aircraft manufacturer Embraer presented its latest design for the STOL.

It features wings that feature different and interchangeable engines and fuselages that allow the machine’s function and mission to be quickly changed. The alternative and interchangeable fuselages would allow the aircraft to carry passengers and cargo, provide support for civil protection, surveillance and agricultural activities.

The Flexcraft is also able to take off on short runways and use environmentally friendly engines that run on alternative fuels and technologies.

Launched in 2016, this futuristic-looking project is still not ready to take off. Although Flexcraft is still in its development phase, the concept, if implemented, could significantly improve the operational flexibility of groups that use it in the future.


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