The R44 Electric Helicopter breaks Guinness World Record

There’s a new Guinness World Record for the longest electric helicopter flight! An electric R44 helicopter produced by Tier 1 Engineering and flown by Ric Webb clocked a 34.5 mile flight at an altitude of 800 feet. This new record could be the indication that electric helicopters will be making their way into the market soon. 

The helicopter industry has been a little slower than other transportation industries on the integration of electric power. With predecessors such as the modified Sikorsky Firefly of 2010 and the Solution F of 2011, the development of the electric helicopter is now pushing forward, and the medical community is leading the charge. The R44 Electric Helicopter was developed by Tier 1 Engineering and LungBio Technology and its technical name is: Electrically-Powered Semi-Autonomous Rotorcraft for Organ Delivery (EPSAROD).

Tier 1 Engineering R44 Electric Helicopter

The Robinson R44 Electric Helicopter was modified with 67 kWh lithium-polymer battery pack as well as two electric motors provided by Rinehart Motion Systems. Built earlier in the decade, the first flight was taken in 2016. The most recent flight achieved over double the altitude of prior tests. Tier 1 comments “The R44 achieved a successful first hover on Tuesday, September 13th, a first hover taxi on Wednesday, September 14th and a record five-minute cruise flight to 400 feet altitude with a peak speed of 80 knots on Wednesday, September 21st.” 

The R44 electric helicopter is projected to fly for over 2.5 hours and wield a payload of six hundred pounds with an upgraded battery pack. As the technology continues to evolve, we can expect to see the Tier 1 Engineering’s R44 in the sky, delivering organs and helping to save lives, without burning up fossil fuels. 

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