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Piasecki Air Scout (prototype)


Air Scout (prototype)
Piasecki Aircraft Corporation
Essington, Pennsylvania, USA

Piasecki Aircraft Corporation was founded by Frank Piasecki in 1955 in Pennsylvania, USA. The company's origin dates back to 1936 with the P-V Engineering Forum and with a name change from the P-V Engineering Forum in 1946 to the Piasecki Helicopter Corporation. After a disagreements with other owners, Frank Piasecki and some of his design team left Piasecki Helicopter Corporation and formed the Piasecki Aircraft Corporation in 1955.

Today, the company is in the research and development business specializing in design, fabrication and flight testing of experimental rotorcraft and unmanned air vehicles. Piasecki's expertise lies in rapid prototyping and developing ground-breaking technologies resulting in aircraft design, development, qualification and flight testing. The company maintains an AS9100 certified quality system.

Here is a partial list of some of the helicopters and VTOL aircraft Piasecki designed, manufactured and have flown.

  • PV-1 (Helicopter demonstrator, 1 main rotorblade, fan in tail cone
  • PV-2 (Second successful flying helicopter in the USA, one main rotorblade, one tail canyon)
  • XHRP-X Dogship (World's first tandem helicopter)
  • XHJP-1 (First overlapped tandem helicopter)
  • HRP-1 (World's first transport helicopter in production)
  • YH-16 (World's largest helicopter, 1953)
  • PH-26 (This helicopter led to the development to the CH-46 Sea Knight and CH-47 Chinook helicopters)
  • H-25, HUP-1, HUP-2, XHRP-1, YH-21, H-21A Workhorse, HRP-2, H-21B, H-21C (Tandem helicopters)
  • PA-59k, PA59N, PA-59H (Flying platform or Jeep)
  • PA4 Sea Bat (First drone, USA)
  • PA-2C Ring-Wing (First VTOL concept aircraft)
  • 16H-1 Pathfinder (First shaft driven compound helicopter)
  • 16H-1A Pathfinder II, 16H-3F, 16H-3J, MLR, AH-1, AH-64 VTCAD, AH-64 VTDP, AH-1 VTCAD, 4BW VTDP, H-60 VTDP, JHL,  (Compound helicopters)
  • PA-39-54E (Heavy-lift helicopter)
  • SH-2D/RT (Helicopter)
  • STAMP (Platform or drone?)
  • PA-97-34J (Heavy vertical airlifter, dirigible airship)
  • W-3A Sokol (Helicopter)
  • Sea Spy, Air Guard, Air Scout, Drexel (VTOL UAV)
  • ARES, OVX (VTOL aircraft)

Air Scout hybrid-electric VTOL air cargo drone
Piasecki Aircraft Corporation (PiAC) made a next-generation Air Scout tandem ducted fan hybrid-electric vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) Unmanned Air System (UAS) designed to operate as an organic asset ("organic asset" usually means specialized equipment which is a permanent part of a parent unit or larger unit) for small ground combat units for Reconnaissance, Surveillance, and Target Acquisition (RSTA), combat resupply, and other missions. The Air Scout is a scaled down version of PiAC’s Air Geep ducted fan vehicle developed and field test for the U.S. Army. The aircraft can be powered by multiple power sources.

Piasecki plans to integrate the SNC—Kutta ground control station (a Ground Control Station that can handle a multitude of different UAS) in combination with long range communications and a Klear-Path sensor suite. Air Scout is a Commercial Off-the Shelf (COTS) design to meet emerging cargo logistics requirements consistent with UAS Classification Group 3. Air Scout is sized at 300 lb (136 kg), with payload potential of 50-150 lb (23-68 kg). Piasecki anticipates developmental testing beginning in early 2019.

The empty weight of each unit is light enough that two people can lift the aircraft on the back of a pick-up truck or a High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV; colloquial: Humvee). The Air Scout is designed for maintainability in the field with an open access platform and Line Replaceable Unit (LRU) component design. Payloads can be hard mounted on the top, side or bottom of the vehicle, or as a slung load underneath.

The Air Scout was originally developed for and selected by the Army as the best value solution for the FCS Class II UAS requirement. The ducts augment rotor lift and provide a protective barrier for ground personnel or the risk of collision with hazards operating in a near earth complex terrain. The Air Scout® has up to a 140 lb (63 kg) useful load capability. Multiple units can be coupled together to provide increased payload when required.

The Air Scout has an autonomous flight control system for take-off, way point navigation, and landing, and a hand-held tablet control with simplified user interface for the operator. Options for integration of collision avoidance sensors are available. Current development efforts focus on the integration and testing of non-gasoline all electric, hybrid, Jet-A and heavy fuel propulsion system options. For more information on other aircraft developed by Piasecki, please see the Piasecki PA 890 aircraft page.


  • Aircraft type: Heavy-lift military hybrid-electric VTOL logistics prototype drone
  • Piloting: Autonomous flight control system for take-off, way point navigation, and landing, and a hand-held tablet control.
  • Capacity: Cargo, no passengers. Payloads can be hard mounted on the top, side, bottom or as a slung load underneath. Multiple units can be coupled together to provide increased payload when required.
  • Cruise speed: Unknown
  • Range: Unknown
  • Flight Time: Unknown
  • Empty weight: 300 lb (136 kg)
  • Maximum payload: 140 lb (63 kg)
  • Maximum takeoff weight:
  • Propellers: 2 propellers
  • Electric Motors: 2 electric motors
  • Power source: All electric, hybrid, Jet-A or heavy fuel propulsion
  • Fuselage: Unknown
  • Landing gear: Fixed landing struts
  • Safety features: Options for integration of collision avoidance sensors are available.

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