Giant drone for heavy cargo transport successfully tested at HCA Airport

Over the past few weeks, Scottish company Flowcopter has been testing its heavy-lift cargo drone in the unique drone airspace above HCA Airport. These were the first outdoor test flights for Flowcopter, which has chosen HCA Airport as its European test base.  

Over the past few weeks, a very special drone has been spotted in the skies above HCA Airport in Odense, Denmark. The drone was part of a batch of three FC100 drones that Scottish drone manufacturer Flowcopter has been building over the past year to validate their new range of Uncrewed Air Systems.  

Flowcopter has chosen HCA Airport and UAS Denmark Test Centre as the test base for the development of its FC100 drone for use in logistics, offshore and agriculture.  

The Danish test flights were the first of their kind outdoors and outside the UK.  

"We return home with our technical readiness test completed and will now implement a design freeze to share this model with more potential customers," says Uwe Stein, Technical Director at Flowcopter.  

Easy authorisation to fly  

He explains that the choice of HCA Airport as a test base is due to a combination of excellent test facilities and an easy approval procedure, where the Danish authorities have contributed with efficient case management.  

"We found the application process for the flight licence to be incredibly smooth with great support from the Danish Transport Authority. It was also a great help to us that UAS Denmark Test Center contributed with advice and experience in relation to preparing risk analyses for the flight permit," says Uwe Stein.  

Can lift up to 100kg  

Flowcopter's "FC100" heavylift cargo drone - internally referred to as a 'utility copter' or 'uUAS' - is designed to deliver high lifting capacity over long distances. Specifically, the drone can lift 100 kilos over a distance of 200 kilometres and fly for up to three hours.  

The test flights at UAS Denmark Test Centre have demonstrated Flowcopter's technology as one that points towards UUAS drones capable of carrying more than 300 kilos over long distances.   

Flowcopter's uUAS is an entirely new line of aircraft that uses a robust, low-cost hydraulic drive to control the propellers at a fraction of the weight of a comparable electrical system. This is made possible by an efficient Digital Displacement® pump with fast control response that drives hydraulic motors.  

The first users of the Flowcopter drone will be operators in sectors such as agriculture, offshore and search and rescue operations. Flowcopter is already in dialogue with end users in the wider freight logistics sector. 

An easy gateway to Europe  

 "We are happy and proud that Flowcopter has chosen HCA Airport and UAS Denmark Test Centre as its European test base. It underlines that we can offer a strong combination of good test facilities and easy access to get your drone in the air," says Michael Larsen, Head of UAS Denmark Test Centre.  

He adds that Flowcopter, as a non-EU company, can now use the licence obtained in Denmark in the remaining EU countries.  

"So in this way, we are an easy entry point to the European market for drone companies that want to operate in the EU, and we are ready to help others who are in the same situation as Flowcopter," says Michael Larsen. 

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