Boeing A160 Hummingbird crashes in Belize

A160 Hummingbird

Flight Global reports that a Boeing A160 Hummingbird crashed in Belize during flight trials on September the 4th. Bringing those trials to an early close.

Not a great month for large helicopter UAS projects. Along with the Firescout tourist bid and possible shoot down, this latest incident just shows how difficult VTOL flight is.

The Hummingbirds specs according to Wikipedia

The Boeing A160 Hummingbird (military designation: YMQ-18A) is an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) helicopter. Its design incorporates many new technologies never before used in helicopters, allowing for greater endurance and altitude than any helicopter currently in operation.

The Hummingbird was initially developed by Frontier Aircraft. In May 2004, the company was acquired by Boeing and integrated into Boeing Phantom Works and then into the Advanced Systems group of Boeing Integrated Defense Systems.

The A160 is in development as of 2008, but test flights already demonstrate successively greater endurance, higher altitudes, more extensive autonomy, and greater payload. The program has ambitious goals of a 2,500-mile (4,000 km) range, 24-hour endurance, and 30,000 ft (9,100 m) altitude. Flights are largely autonomous, with the aircraft making its own decisions about how to fly itself so as to meet certain objectives, rather than relying on real-time human control. Maximum speeds are over 140 knots. The aircraft is 35 ft (11 m) from nose to tail and has a rotor diameter of 36 ft (11 m). Until recently it was powered by modified Subaru automotive engines, but newer versions fly with the Pratt & Whitney PW207D turboshaft