Just the other day I told about the drone equipped with biomimetic claws developed at Stanford. A solution inspired by the peregrine falcon that can allow these remote-controlled (or autonomous) aircraft to continue to monitor for longer by "resting" every now and then on a branch.
What if this biomimetic concept, I thought, was also adopted for larger aircraft? It didn't take long to get an answer: and it comes from Africa.
Apparently the race to create the strangest flying machine never ends.
Now, the developers of a South African startup, the Phractyl, have unveiled a hybrid aircraft-bird. The concept, called "macrobat", it's unlike anything the industry had shown before. It has crawler feet, bird legs, tilting cabin and tilting wings: a biomimetic machine, an NVTOL (ALMOST vertical take-off and landing aircraft, even from rough terrain).
A whole new plane
The legs of a bird, the wings that move. The ability to fly close to the ground even without landing strips. Extreme mobility for passengers and goods in areas not easily accessible by land transport infrastructures.
The perfect biomimicry for the African context. A context that also makes the "classic" VTOL and eVTOL particularly suitable, vertical take-off aircraft which also do not require particular precautions. But this Macrobat beats them all: the wings of these air taxis can tilt 45 degrees to help them fly. They fold near the tail (also, needless to say, biomimicry).
Some data on the biomimetic machine
The Macrobat has a 'maximum range of 150 km (93 miles). It also has a Maximum payload capacity of 150kg and a top speed of 180km / h (112mph). The company says this biomimetic machine can be used as an aircraft or drone. This means that the device can be piloted by a person, or remotely controlled. It can have passengers or cargo as needed. The applications? Recreational flight, rescue, cargo missions, inspection and even field spraying.
The startup has renderings and a small wooden Macrobot model (you can see it in the photo, above). The team is working to build a prototype propulsion system and to work with the model on a large scale.