First Medical Evacuation Exercise with Electric Aircraft Completed

Agility Prime assessed the Kitty Hawk electric aircraft's ability to do medical evacuation and personnel recovery as well as remotely piloted and fully autonomous flight in the hope of providing new forms of transport for the U.S. military By DA Reporter / 23 Jun 2021

AFWERX Agility Prime and new partner Kitty Hawk reached a milestone where a diverse group of industry and government operators, engineers, and test professionals assessed the ability to do medical evacuation, personnel recovery, and logistics with Kitty Hawk’s Heaviside electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft. The Kitty Hawk team also demonstrated Heaviside’s remote flying capabilities.

The eVTOL aircraft hopes to bring advancements to the industry and provide possible new forms of transport for the military.

Col. Nathan Diller, AFWERX Director, said, “We are pleased to welcome a new partner and happy about the progress in this first Agility Prime exercise. This is just the beginning of many examples that the team will be exploring in the coming months to partner with commercial companies in a way that accelerates maturity for commercialization, while providing the Department of the Air Force with decision-quality data for future force design.”

The multi-disciplinary team gathered a rich catalogue of data to inform dual-use utility at the prototype stage that will inform future developmental and fielding decisions. Besides assessing different loading scenarios, the team also observed demonstrations of remotely piloted and fully autonomous flights with Heaviside.

The Heaviside aircraft flies at up to 180 mph with a potential range of 100 miles plus reserves on a single charge. It can take off and land in a 30×30 foot space, reaches sound levels of 38 dBA at 1,000 feet, is 100x quieter than a helicopter, and requires less than half the energy per mile of a conventional electric car.

Col. Don Haley, Commander of Air Education and Training Command Detachment 62, who leads a team in developing training syllabi for these new electric aircraft, noted that, “This collaborative commercial/DoD use-case exploration revealed common attributes that serve both urban air mobility and search and rescue operations: High-reliability, responsive launch & recovery, minimal logistical footprint, accessibility for mobility-challenged, low acoustic signature, and high levels of autonomy.”

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