Why fly in just one direction when you can fly in many? That’s the question that drove the creation of the QuadRKT, branded as a “revolutionary new drone” with both horizontal and vertical flight capabilities. Whereas conventional drones generally fall into one of two categories of design — the cruciform quadcopter or the fixed-wing glider — the QuadRKT offers something totally different. It’s an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) that can hover like a helicopter, but fly like a missile.
Taking off in a “nose-up” configuration and then adjusting itself by 90 degrees to fly in “missile-mode” allows this new form of quadcopter to be both faster and more efficient than either a helicopter or a fixed-wing airplane, the QuadRKT team says. And best of all, the design of the next-generation drone doesn’t require any complex design mechanism in order to switch between hover and missile flight mode, which ostensibly results in longer flight times and faster speeds.
While their claims are as of yet unverified, the team says that it’s smallest model — the QuadSPRW — has set a speed record of 133 miles per hour. However, none of QuadRKT’s videos show off this supposedly breakneck speed, nor do they emphasize the drone’s maneuverability.
But if you want to test out one of these missile-slash-drones yourself, they’re now available on Kickstarter. There’s the QuadSPRW, a training vehicle described as a “small-framed durable bird capable of both modes of flight, but priced for the hobbyist and for training pilots for dual-mode flight.” It will set you back $250 and be delivered in January 2017, but if you go to the QuadRKT website, you can buy it now for $300.
There’s also the QuadRKT, effectively the QuadSPRW “modified to carry a 1/2A solid rocket motor and launch from a conventional model rocket launch pad.” This model comes with a pack of four custom rocket motors with igniters and plugs, and costs $300 on Kickstarter.
Finally, there’s the QuadHWK, a “fully-featured aircraft showcasing missile mode flight.” Promising to be “compatible with any programmable radio system having six or more available channels (throttle, aileron, rudder, elevator, a gear channel, and an auxiliary channel),” the largest version (yet) of the drone is $1,200. But don’t worry, there’s an even larger edition coming out in early 2017 known as the Eagle, because when you find a cross between a quadcopter and a missile, you really want to spread your wings.