Historic battery-powered helicopter flight at Los Alamitos Army Airfield

Historic 1st Electric Helicopter Flight

Posted on October 3, 2016 | Tier 1 Engineering Press Release

Tier 1 Engineering announced that its battery-powered manned helicopter program achieved a successful first hover on Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2016, a first hover taxi on Wednesday, Sept. 14, and a record five minute cruise flight to 400 feet altitude with a peak speed of 80 knots on Wednesday, Sept. 21.

The helicopter was a modified Robinson R44 test piloted by Capt Ric Webb of OC Helicopters.

All flights were accomplished at the Los Alamitos Army Airfield under a special airworthiness certificate in the experimental category issued by Federal Aviation Administration’s Los Angeles MIDO.

Tier 1 Engineering accomplished the project under contract from Lung Biotechnology PBC to produce an electrically-powered semi-autonomous rotorcraft for organ delivery (EPSAROD).

“I’m very pleased to achieve this historic breakthrough in aviation,” said Glen Dromgoole, president of Tier 1 Engineering. “Never before has a manned helicopter performed a vertical takeoff, cruise and landing solely on battery power, and we are thrilled to have further achieved 400 feet altitude and 80 knots during our first full test flight.”