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the future of uav flight control technology



    Atlanta, GA. – November 26, 2012

    Adaptive Flight, Inc (AFI) has introduced its new Hornet Maxi UAV. With its gasoline engine, this vehicle was specifically designed for missions requiring long endurance and extended range. The Hornet Maxi is capable of carrying 15 pounds of payload, for up to 2.5 hours, while providing stable digital imagery to operators at ranges up to 100 miles. The Hornet Maxi is very cost-effective, offering one man operation, 3 day training, small system footprint, and a low overall operating cost. A baseline configuration has a price starting at $135,000.

    “The Hornet Maxi has excellent speed, stability, and control. It offers operators an extremely well rounded system able to complete any mission requiring VTOL capabilities,” says William Robinson, AFI’s Director of Sales and Marketing. Using the unique capabilities of AFI’s flight control system, the Hornet Maxi has the ability to perform in adverse operational situations and handle a wide range of weather conditions. “The Hornet Maxi was designed and built with versatility in mind. With superior flight characteristics, multiple options for on-vehicle payload connectivity, the ability to operate in GPS-denied environments, and the capability to distribute live-video anywhere in the world with a simple internet connection, the platform has the flexibility needed for today’s rapidly evolving operating environments,” says Nate Adam, AFI’s Product Manager for the Hornet Maxi. The Hornet Maxi offers flexible alternatives for connecting to customer payloads, including video, serial and ethernet. Using the internet, AFI’s IP network based systems allows customers to easily distribute vehicle based transmissions anywhere in the world.

    HORNET MAXI Gasoline Specifications:


    DRY WEIGHT: 20 lbs. (9 kg)

    PAYLOAD/FUEL WEIGHT: up to 15 lbs. (6.8 kg)

    HEIGHT: 20’’ (51 cm)

    WIDTH: 18” (46 cm)

    LENGTH: 58’’ (147 cm)

    ENGINE: 30.5 cc internal combustion engine


    SPEED: 40 MPH (64 km/h)

    RANGE: Up to 100 miles (161 km)

    ALTITUDE: Up to 10,000 ft MSL


    DATA/VIDEO LINK: Secure digital mesh Wi-Fi network radio

    PAYLOAD: Multiple EO/IR cameras, gimbal based systems, scientific sensor packages, universal I/O for custom payload integration


    HORNET MAXI: $135,000 (Includes basic aircraft with FCS20 advanced flight control system, Fixed Forward Looking Operator Camera, Pelican-based Ground Control Station with Panasonic Toughbook, Operator and Simulator Software, Persistent System’s Encrypted Mesh Ground Wave Relay Radio and 3 day Hornet training class). Payload options are available separately.

    The gasoline powered Hornet Maxi is an evolution of AFI’s electric Hornet Maxi. The electric Maxi has been in use for several years, has consistently proven its reliability, and has provided customers with quality ISR data. With the introduction of the newest Hornet Maxi, Adaptive Flight will continue to lead the industry with its family of unmanned helicopter solutions.

    About Adaptive Flight: Founded in 2005, Adaptive Flight, Inc. offers complete guidance solutions, and engineering services, for unmanned aerial vehicles. AFI’s core product is the FCS20, a custom designed flight control system that is powered by Adaptive Flight’s innovative flight control software. The Hornet product family includes small to mid-sized VTOL aircraft, in addition to custom designed ground support equipment. Adaptive Flight’s systems provide surveillance platforms that are simple to operate, easy to maintain, and ready in a moment’s notice. For more information, go to

    Contact: Wayne Pickell, CEO

    Phone: +1 770-951-8755 x102




    Atlanta, GA. – July 12, 2012

    Adaptive Flight, Inc. is working with the University of Texas Radionavigation Laboratory under an ongoing project to test whether it is feasible to take over an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) by spoofing the GPS signal. GPS spoofing is a technology by which a person can modify the position of a UAV without proper authorization. One motivation for this project was a recent claim by Iran of capturing a US spy drone by similar means. Initial testing at White Sands Missile Range proved the feasibility of remotely taking over an unprotected UAV in ideal conditions.

    “The growing dependence of critical civil infrastructure on GPS--for transportation, communication, energy distribution, and banking and finance--makes civil GPS spoofing not only an economic and safety threat but also a matter of national security,” said University of Texas Assistant Professor Todd Humphreys, the Principal Investigator for the program.

    Dr. Humphreys and his students, through four years of general GPS security related research, have created sophisticated software that allows special GPS spoofing hardware to override the authentic GPS signals with counterfeit signals. These counterfeit signals can, in turn, be sent to an operating UAV. Many UAVs rely on GPS for guidance and navigation, and counterfeit signals, in theory, could be used to manipulate a UAV to a desired location. This same security vulnerability applies to many other GPS-reliant systems as well, including manned aviation, automotive navigation, and even financial transactions.

    “Adaptive Flight is proud to be working with Dr. Humphreys and his team in their efforts to address GPS system vulnerabilities due to GPS spoofing,” says Adaptive Flight’s CEO Wayne Pickell. ”We recognize the vulnerability of a UAV relying on GPS, especially in the presence of GPS spoofing or jamming. That is why all Adaptive Flight products come equipped with our patent pending GPS-denied operational mode, allowing for safe operation of our vehicles in all mission situations.”

    For the White Sands test, the GPS-denied mode was turned off as the intent of the test was to have a UAV configured to rely on GPS. Adaptive Flight’s GPS-denied technology removes the system’s reliance on GPS for navigation, seamlessly transitioning control of the system without effecting the performance or the mission.

    During the test in White Sands, New Mexico in June, the team was able to override the true GPS satellite signals with fake GPS signals sent to an Adaptive Flight Hornet Mini UAV, causing it to change its behavior. Representatives from both the FAA and DHS were present during the test to witness the spoofing of the UAV, therefore validating the theory that it is possible to change the flight path of a UAV by spoofing GPS. “We're raising the flag early on so there is ample opportunity to fix this problem,” Humphreys said.

    About the Hornet Mini: The Adaptive Flight Hornet Mini UAV is an 8-10 pound mid-size surveillance unmanned aircraft, and is typical of the type of system used in the test. With multiple payload options and increased endurance, the Hornet Mini supports a wide range of missions including close-range operations in cluttered urban terrain. Instrumented with Adaptive Flight’s FCS20 Advanced Flight Control System, the Hornet Mini is so advanced that it is easy to operate. Take-off is as simple as a push of a button. Fly with a standard joystick controller or preprogram the flight on the Hornet Ground Control Station. Navigate close to buildings. Fly in GPS-denied environments using the GPS-denied mode. Simulate complete missions in advance.

    About Adaptive Flight: Founded in 2005, Adaptive Flight, Inc. offers complete guidance solutions and engineering services for unmanned aerial vehicles, including a deck-of-cards sized flight computer designed for advanced flight control. The Hornet product family of small unmanned VTOL systems provides surveillance platforms that are simple to operate for both military and civilian applications.

    Contact: Wayne Pickell, CEO

    Phone: 770-951-8755 x102



  • World First Inverted VTOL UAV Release! March 2012

    AFI Drops one on its head! As apart of a special program Adaptive Flight is currently working on we have successfully release a Hornet Micro inverted. The system has the ability to either stop and remain inverted or to execute the maneuver to right itself. To Adaptive Flights knowledge this is the first time this has ever been performed and demonstrates the agility and of both the FCS20 Autopilot and the Hornet Micro.

  • New FAA Bill! March 2012

    Adaptive Flight’s Hornet Micro (2.4 lbs) is a great solution for first responders wanting to immediately add UAVs to their portfolio. President Obama has signed the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Modernization and Reform Act 2012 which includes provisions for granting military, commercial, and privately-owned unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) greater access to U.S. airspace. One of the major provisions of the bill allows first responders to fly very small UAS (4.4 pounds or less) within 90 days if they meet certain requirements. The Hornet Micro falls within that weight specification. Another provision of the Act will require small UAS (under 55 pounds) be allowed to fly in the U.S. Arctic, 24 hours a day, beyond line-of-sight, at an altitude of at least 2,000 feet, within one year. Adaptive Flight’s Hornet Mini (8.8 lbs) and Hornet Maxi (15 – 18 lbs) are both ideal options which fall within the weight specifications.
    Click here to view:FAA Bill

  • New Hornet Magnum February 2012

    Adaptive Flight has added the Hornet Magnum to our product line. The Hornet Magnum is geared toward government,industrial and research purposes. With a 10.3ft rotor diameter and liquid cooled 40 H.P. rotary engine the Hornet Magnum is a solid workhorse for your heavy lift application. Currently Adaptive Flight is equipping two of these very large vehicles for an international customer in preparation of a military demonstration.

  • AUVSI NA Unmanned Systems 2011 Show August 2011

    While attending AUVSI NA Unmanned Systems 2011 AFI demonstrates indoor GPS denied mode of the Hornet Micro UAV. A new VTOL UAV, the "Inceptor" was developed from knowledge gained from the Hornet Micro. Created by AFI, for Insitu, The Inceptor was featured at the booths of Adaptive Flight, Insitu and Northwest UAV. See for more detailed information of the Inceptor. Sikorsky Innovations also featured AFI demonstrating an on going collaborative effort between the two companies.

  • Insitu introduces the Inceptor UAS Helicopter August 2011

    Insitu Inc. has introduced the Inceptor small unmanned aircraft system (UAS). Adaptive Flight, Inc. is proud to be a key supplier of airframe, avionics, and control station components. The Inceptor UAS will provide the public safety market with real-time video and stable, high-resolution imagery. Inceptor's compact size, at less than four pounds, allows it to fit in the trunk of a car. It is easy to launch and recover in almost any environment. Inceptor is highly tolerant of sustained winds and wind gusts, achieving stable aerial imagery through the FCS20 advanced onboard control system from Adaptive Flight, Inc. Operator training and workload is minimized through a streamlined user interface. The operator uses a small portable control unit to get the camera in the right place quickly and easily; and to distribute the imagery to those who need it. Link to related Insitu press release:

  • Sikorksy Innovations and AFI Announce Investment November 2010

    Sikorsky Innovations and Adaptive Flight, Inc., Announce Investment to Advance Autonomous Flight Technology Development: Sikorsky Innovations, the technology development organization of Sikorsky Aircraft Corp., today announced it has made an equity investment in Adaptive Flight, Inc. The investment, in part, will be directed toward developing technologies that allow piloted and unpiloted aircraft to work together, an area in which the parties have been collaborating. Henrik Christophersen, Chief Executive Officer for Adaptive Flight, Inc.: "Sikorsky's recognition of our technology and capabilities, as well as the opportunity for growth and collaboration this investment enables, represents a significant step for Adaptive Flight. We look forward to working with Sikorsky and to apply our products and skills to develop new and exciting unmanned Vertical Take-Off and Landing (VTOL) solutions for a wide range of applications."

  • AUVSI Indoor and Outdoor Demonstration Events August 2010

    Adaptive Flight, Inc. is first to demonstrate same unmanned aircraft at both indoor and outdoor Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems, International events: Adaptive Flight, Inc recently demonstrated its Hornet Micro, a vertical take-off and landing UAV, at the AUVSI conference in Denver, CO. This indoor flight demonstration makes the Hornet Micro the first autonomous vehicle platform to be operated at both the indoor and outdoor AUVSI flying events. The same Hornet Micro system was previously featured at the AUVSI unmanned systems outdoor demonstrations at Webster Field Maryland in 2007 and 2009.

  • Hornet Mini Demonstrated in Norway June 2010

    Hornet Mini is demonstrated from a Coast Guard ship "KV Tor" in Stavanger, Norway. Representatives from the Coastal Adminstration (Kystverket), police and customs were present during the demonstration, which included a series of mission scenarios including tracking of small high-speed boats dropping off and retrieving packages in the ocean, inspection of ships, simulated Search and Rescue missions using infrared sensors, inspection of coastal areas, harbors etc. The city on the western coast of Norway also featured a 30 mph wind, which provided us the opportunity to demonstrate the Hornet Mini's ability to operate in adverse weather. The Hornet Mini was launched and recovered on the aft deck of the ship. Video from the onboard cameras was fed to a projector on the ship's bridge. The demonstration proved that it is feasible to operate small unmanned helicopters from ships in support of maritime ISR missions.