As we all know, drones come in all shapes, sizes, configurations, flexible features, and more. VTOL drones are a new breakthrough in the drone market and they As we all know, drones come in all shapes, sizes, configurations, flexible features, and more. VTOL drones are a new breakthrough in the drone market and they are becoming a popular flying trend. They have unique features that are beneficial to different businesses. In this article, we will discuss hot topics such as the VTOL definition, types, and how they work.
What are VTOL drones?
VTOL stands for Vertical Take-Off and Landing, and the VTOL drone refers to a drone that can take off and land vertically without the aid of a runway. VTOL UAVs are known for their efficient, flexible, long-range flight. And VTOL drones can fly anytime, anywhere for different industries. At present, VTOL drones have been widely used in a number of industrial fields, such as surveillance, mapping, surveying and so on.
The features of VTOL drone
When we use a VTOL drone, we will find that it has a lot of advantages. Of course, the most significant point is that it does not need too much take-off space to fly smoothly. However, there are two sides to everything. The VTOL UAV has a lot of advantages and it must have relative disadvantages. Let's take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of using VTOL drones.
What are the advantages of using VTOL drones？
Here are some of the praiseworthy advantages of VTOL drones that will help you decide whether or not to choose it.
1. Mission flexibility: VTOL drones don't need to use the runway to take off, saving space and not limited by terrain.
2. Versatility: There is nearly no operate limitation of VTOL UAV and it can be widely used in mapping, surveillance, surveying and other fields.
3. Efficient manoeuvrability: The ability to vary the relative speed of each rotor creates changes in thrust and torque, so VTOL drones have more efficient maneuverability.
4. High agility: VTOL drones have high agility and high cruising speed compared with traditional air vehicle.
What are the disadvantages of using VTOL drones？
Believe you are now eager to get a VTOL drone that belongs to you after seeing VTOL's advantages. But please take your time. Let's take a look at what are the disadvantages of using a VTOL UAV? Then it will help with your decision.
1. Limited payload: The VTOL system greatly increases the weight of the aircraft and limiting the payload that can be carried.
2. Complex system: VTOL systems are more complex than traditional UAV systems. It requires advanced technologies such as multiple engines and lift systems which makes them more difficult to operate.
3. High consumption: The VTOL drone consumes more energy, whether it is eVTOL UAV or fuel VTOL UAV, which makes it expensive to operate and maintain.
4. Noise: Larger in size and using multiple engines, VTOL aircraft tends to be noisier than conventional drones.
What are the types of VTOL drones？
There are many types of VTOL drones, and the classification criteria are different. Usually, we classify VTOL drones according to their propulsion, flight mode and design.
1. VTOL drone types according to propulsion.
●Propulsion by engine
The types of engine VTOL drones are various, and very common types are reciprocating engines, gas/combustion turbine engines and rotary engines,etc.
Reciprocating engines: It is an engine that uses piston movement to convert pressure into rotational power.
Gas/combustion turbine engines: Gas engines typically use the pressure generated by burning fuel to promote turbine movement and generate thrust.
Rotary engines: The rotor inside the engine moves from one chamber to another, it makes the gas contract and expand.
●Propulsion by motor
We are familiar with motor powered VTOL drones, because many drones are the application of motor power. The types of motors available are solar-powered motors, hybrid motors and battery-powered motors.
Solar-powered motors: Using solar energy to supply its own energy instead of fuel or batteries.
Battery-powered motors: The drone motors get power from the batteries.
Hybrid motors: Utilizing many different energy sources, most of which are powered by electricity and fuel.
2.VTOL drone types according to the flight mode
Acoording to the flight mode we can classify VTOL drones as:
Conventional take-off and landing (CTOL):
Adopting conventional flight modes, such as hybrid vertical take-off and landing and standard fixed-wing UAV. In other words, CTOL needs more space during takeoff and has higher requirements for the takeoff environment than VTOL.
Short take-off and landing (STOL): It's almost the same as a conventional flight mode, but requires a shorter runway for take-off and landing, which is suitable for remote areas in tight spaces.
Short take-off and vertical landing (STOVL):
It takes off from short runways to facilitate vertical landing, but hardly take off vertically.
Vertical or short take-off and landing (V/STOL): Unlike short take-off and vertical landing, vertical or short take-off and landing can land vertically as well as vertically over short run ways.
3.VTOL drone types according to design
VTOL drones are mainly classified into 2 types according to design, they are rotorcraft drones and power lift drones.
Rotorcraft drones: Rotorcraft drones use propellers to propel themselves to complete flight. The propeller is usually attached to a motor. They are highly efficient and can reach more areas than fixed wing drones.
Power lift drones: The power lift drone takes off and lands vertically under engine power, unlike rotorcraft drones, most of these drones will be fixed-wing.
How do VTOL Drones Work？
The propeller of the VTOL UAV usually uses a rotating propeller or jet engine to adjust the thrust direction up or down to achieve the take-off and landing of the UAV in the vertical direction. In horizontal flight, lift and propulsion are provided by airfoil control. The airfoil design of VTOL UAVs usually uses a combination of fixed wings and rotors, that is, fixed wings and rotors are installed on the frame to achieve the conversion of vertical take-off and landing and horizontal flight.
Take-off stage: By changing the working state of the propeller, the thrust is converted to vertical thrust to achieve vertical take-off.
Flight satge: By changing the drone frame condition, the thrust is converted to horizontal thrust to achieve horizontal flight
Landing stage: By changing the working state of the propeller, the thrust is converted into vertical thrust to achieve vertical landing.
What thrust to weight ratio for VTOL?
Thrust to weight ratio is the thrust to weight ratio of rockets, jet engines, propeller engines, or vehicles propelled by such engines. And it is commonly used to evaluate the flight performance of them.
Here's a formula to help you calculate your drone's thrust-to-weight ratio:
Thrust to weight ratio = Thrust of single UAV motor/(MTOW of UAV/Number of motors)
In general, the higher the thrust to weight ratio, the better the performance of the drone. The VTOL drones have a thrust to weight ratio of 2.5-3, but some larger size VTOL drones may not even reach 2.
What is the difference between VTOL and eVTOL?
Vertical take-off and Landing (VTOL) UAV and electric vertical Take-off and landing (eVTOL) UAV are two different types of aircraft. While both types of aircrafts have the ability to take off and land vertically, they differ in their design, propulsion and operational characteristics.
VTOL: VTOL aircrafts are drones that take off and land traditionally vertically and do not require a runway. These aircraft are usually powered by jet engines or turbofans using fuel.
VTOL aircrafts are faster and have a longer range, making them ideal for regional transport. They can work in a variety of environments, including rugged terrain and remote areas. This makes them ideal for military applications, search and rescue operations, and emergency medical services.
eVTOL: eVTOL (electric vertical Take-off and landing) aircrafts are a new class of aircraft powered by electric motors that typically use multiple rotors or ducted fans to generate lift and can be controlled with advanced software and sensors.
eVTOL aircrafts has one more "e" than VTOL, and the "e" changes everything. It is changing economy, safety, noise, handling, lightweight, transmission efficiency.
1. How fast is the VTOL drone?
It is impossible to give an exact figure, depending on the motor, operation mode and outdoor conditions. The VTOL drone's speed ranges from a slow 5 km/h to a higher 350 km/h or even higher.
2. What is the payload capacity of VTOL?
The same as its speed, the VTOL drone depends on its powertrain, flight mode and many other factors.
3. What is the best VTOL drone for mapping?
It needs to be considered from many aspects such as map transmission system, flight time, flight range, price, load, brand and so on.
A good VTOL UAV usually has long flight time, heavy load capacity, stable and high-definition cameras and sensors, as well as efficient data processing and analysis tools.
4. How much does a VTOL UAV cost?
The price of a VTOL aircraft ranges from $300 to $3,000, while a professional VTOL drone ranges from $3,000 to more than $300,000.