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Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency

Four-engine tilt wing VTOL aircraft


March 31, 2014

Flight tests at Taiki Aerospace Research Field to evaluate the flight controller for Quad Tilt Wing (QTW) VTOL UAV

From October 7 to October 12, flight tests for a QTW VTOL UAV named McART3 were conducted at the JAXA Taiki Aerospace Research Field in Taiki, Hokkaido. The main objective was to evaluate the designed flight controller for McART3, and the tests demonstrated that the attitude controller works properly at propeller tilt angles* ranging from 90 degrees (vertical) to 15 degrees.
The McART3, a small UAV demonstrator of the QTW VTOL concept, has a length of 1.1 m, a width of 1.4 m, and a weight of 4.6 kg. It also has four propellers, each of which is installed on a wing. By rotating its tilt wings, McArt3 can smoothly shift between vertical takeoff/landing mode and airplane mode while keeping its body pitch attitude horizontal.
JAXA plans to evaluate the flight controller for all supposed tilt angles in the next flight experiment, scheduled for early 2014. Development on this VTOL flight control technology will lead to the development of both manned and unmanned QTW VTOL aircraft.

* Tilt angle is referred to as the angle of the implemented wings. When the wings are set perpendicular to the ground surface, the tilt angle is referred to as 0 degrees; when the wings are set as even with the ground surface, the tilt angle is referred to as 90 degrees.