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UAV Factory unveils Penguin B long-endurance VTOL UAV

Marupe-based UAV Factory Europe unveiled its new Penguin B long-endurance, vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) on 29 June.

The Penguin B VTOL UAV is designed to perform routine take-off and landing in 30 kt (15 m/s) winds and operate in extreme temperatures ranging from -20°C to 50°C. The system represents a follow-on development of the conventional take-off and landing model that in 2012 performed a non-stop flight lasting 54 hours and 27 minutes, which the company claims to be the longest recorded flight for a mini-class unmanned aircraft to date.

The VTOL version is equipped with three carbon-fibre landing gear struts instead of the fixed tricycle-type landing gear found on the classic Penguin B: a move designed to reduce drag and increase flight endurance. The lightweight composite wings with optimised structural rigidity were also extended from 3.3 m to 3.9 m, with the larger 1.02 m² wing area contributing to its claimed flight endurance of more than 8 hours.

The air vehicle retains the in-house 28 cc, two-stroke electronic fuel injection (EFI) engine that provides a claimed output of 2.5 W and drives a rear-mounted twin-blade pusher propeller for horizontal flight, with VTOL operation enabled by four small electric-powered propellers located on the carbon-fibre composite longitudinal beams that connect its wings with the inverted-V tail. The propulsion system enables the UAV to cruise at speeds of 83 km/h and 90 km/h, and attain a service ceiling of 4,000 m.

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