×
Home Aircraft / Aviation Naval Warfare Land Systems Small Arms
HOME
AVIATION
MODERN AIR FORCES
COUNTRIES
MANUFACTURERS
COMPARE
BY CONFLICT
BY TYPE
BY DECADE
MODERN AIRCRAFT
X-PLANE
DRONE TECHNOLOGY

Vanilla Aircraft VA001


Ultra-Long-Endurance Unmanned Aircraft


The 475lb Vanilla VA001 ultra-long-endurance UAV has managed a flight lasting 121.4 hours during October 2017.
Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 1/10/2020
The next logical step in the world of unmanned aircraft is endurance but this typically requires larger, more expensive aircraft to accomplish the task. For years, designs have been entered into the field to broaden unmanned aircraft range capabilities and there have been both successes and failures. One potential groundbreaking candidate is the Vanilla Aircraft VA001 Unmanned Air System (UAS) which recorded its first-flight back in February of 2015 and continues in development today (2017). The aircraft was born from a five-person team in Falls Church, Virginia with the purpose of building economically-minded, compact design to haul payloads over very-long-distances.

The VA001 is categorized as a mid-sized UAS and features an efficient diesel-fueled engine driving a propeller unit in a "pusher" configuration. The aircraft sports straight, high-mounted mainplanes to achieve desired lift-versus-drag balance and its fuselage shape is akin to a tear drop for aerodynamic efficiency. The outer panels of the mainplanes are upturned. Overall wingspan measures 36 feet. The tail unit is made up of a single vertical fin with the horizontal plane set high.

The 475lb VA001's can carry a payload of up to 30lb. It lands without an undercarriage, coming down on its belly before rolling to a complete stop. The propeller unit at the rear of the body collapses so as not to incur damage during the action.


As development of the VA001 is ongoing, engineers will continue to push the boundaries of this intriguing aircraft. As it stands, the aircraft can fly for up to ten days under quiet operation at altitudes of 15,000 feet and speeds up to 75 knots. It can loiter (under autopilot) in orbit while traveling at around 55 knots.

In January of 2017, the Vanilla Aircraft crew claimed a World Record with a recorded unrefueled 56-hour flight, the longest for an unmanned combustion-powered aircraft. Range restrictions and icing potential ended what was a planned 120-hour test flight.

In an October 2017 test flight involving NASA/DARPA, the VA001 completed a journey lasting 121 hours, 24 minutes - this covering some 7,000 miles. This showcases the aircraft's impressive inherent range capabilities and the system was still left with another three days of fuel in its onboard stores. The action marked broke the previous endurance record for longest unmanned internal combustion-powered flight.

The VA001 certainly has commercial and military implications and is especially of interest to both for its low cost function and impressive performance. In the latter, the product is seen as a potential support system at the platoon level where it can be used for long-endurance reconnaissance as well as modest-sized cargo delivery.






Specifications



Year:
2015
Status
Retired, Limited Service
Crew
0
[ 1 Units ] :
Vanilla Aircraft / DARPA - USA
National flag of United States United States
- Reconnaissance (RECCE)
- X-Plane / Developmental
- Unmanned
(Showcased structural dimension values pertain to the Vanilla Aircraft VA001 production model)
(Showcased weight values pertain to the Vanilla Aircraft VA001 production model)
1 x Diesel engine unit driving a propeller in pusher configuration.
(Showcased powerplant information pertains to the Vanilla Aircraft VA001 production model)
(Showcased performance values pertain to the Vanilla Aircraft VA001 production model; Compare this aircraft entry against any other in our database)
None. Approximately 30lb payload capability and support for various sensors.
(Showcased armament details pertain to the Vanilla Aircraft VA001 production model)
VA001 - Base Series Designation

Disclaimer | Privacy Policy | Cookies


The "Military Factory" name and MilitaryFactory.com logo are registered ® U.S. trademarks protected by all applicable domestic and international intellectual property laws. All written content, illustrations, and photography are unique to this website (unless where indicated) and not for reuse/reproduction in any form. Material presented throughout this website is for historical and entertainment value only and should not to be construed as usable for hardware restoration, maintenance, or general operation. We do not sell any of the items showcased on this site. Please direct all other inquiries to militaryfactory AT gmail.com.

Part of a network of sites that includes AnvilOfWar.com, GlobalFirepower, a data-driven property used in ranking the top military powers of the world, and WDMMA.org, the World Directory of Modern Military Aircraft.


www.MilitaryFactory.com • All Rights Reserved • Content ©2003-