Trek Aerospace Mule
Trek Aerospace, Inc.
Folsom, California, USA
Founded in 1999, Trek Aerospace, Inc. is a small engineering company based in Folsom, California, USA. The company has designed and made multiple vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) aircraft including its exoskeleton jetpacks using shrouded propellers in the airframe design. The company has also designed and made watercraft. Trek Aerospace also assists companies in the design, fabrication, and licensing of projects involving shrouded propellers and/or autonomous control systems.
The company states their core technology has the highest thrust to hp/kw in the industry. This allows their aircraft to carry a lot of weight in a smaller footprint. Trek’s shrouded props require less power, use fewer batteries than other battery powered aircraft, have a greater payload and have a farther range. The company has stated all their VTOL aircraft designs can be powered with a hybrid-electric power source or using batteries as their main power source (electric vertical takeoff and landing - eVTOL).
The Mule is a heavy-lift air cargo has the capability of being configured as a hybrid-electric VTOL or eVTOL drone. The air cargo VTOL aircraft was originally developed for military use during peace time and war time service. The drone has two tilting ducted fans located at the top of the fuselage and are used for all directions of flight which make the aircraft have excellent maneuvering abilities. Even though the original aircraft was a VTOL aircraft with a combustion engine, gears and shafts for turning the propellers, the company has stated they could easily reconfigure the aircraft to be a hybrid-electric VTOL aircraft or an all-electric VTOL (eVTOL) aircraft, if demand calls for it.
The aircraft has two front stub wings to help with lift during forward flight and a rear T-tail for lift and stabilizing the aircraft during flight. There are lots of sensors on the aircraft such as detect and avoid instruments, cameras, infrared and other sensors needed for remote/autonomous flight. While the drone was never intended to be crewed, the aircraft is scalable and could be designed and manufactured to hold crew, cargo and/or passengers.
The drone has a detachable cargo pod which located at the bottom of the fuselage and is attached easily with four clips which are permanently attached to the cargo pod. The cargo pod can hold ammunition, first aid kits and other supplies. In the aircraft's current configuration, the cargo pod needs to be manually attached and detached by ground crew. It would be possible at some point in the future, to design the aircraft where the pod could be attached and detached by autopilot, remotely or autonomously.
The aircraft is streamlined and has a small footprint which is useful for landing on small vertiports or unprepared landing areas such as a grassy field or on a road. In addition, the small size of the aircraft very useful for storage in ships, hangars, a garage or tents. The small size of the aircraft also makes the aircraft easy to transport by truck, helicopter or airplane.
If the aircraft is ever put in service, the company foresees the aircraft being used for urban air cargo deliveries, rural cargo delivery, commercial logistics and military logistics. If properly configured, the heavy-lift drone could be used to spray or seed in agricultural use. In addition, the aircraft could be reconfigured with four ducted fans and/or additional propellers. While the company has not stated this aircraft will be reinstated into the emerging eVTOL industry, but it certainly has the option to do so.
- Aircraft type: Hybrid-electric VTOL or eVTOL cargo aircraft
- Piloting: Remote or future autonomous
- Capacity: Cargo only, with bottom loading cargo container
- Cruise speed: Unknown
- Range: Unknown
- Cruise altitude: Unknown
- Propellers: 2 ducted fans
- Electric Motors: 2 electric motors
- Power source: Hybrid-electric
- Fuselage: Carbon fiber composite
- Wings: Two front stub wings
- Tail: T-tail
- Landing gear: Fixed skid landing gear
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