Helicopter gets first revamp in 78 years: Workhorse Group CEO

By Technology

Reinventing the helicopter with an eight-propeller machine

Workhorse Group CEO Steve Burns on the company's SureFly helicopter.

What some say is the first passenger drone to fly in America, is actually a revamped helicopter according to CEO of the Workhorse Group Steve Burns.

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“We feel we have reinvented the helicopter after 78 years,” Burns told the FOX Business Network’s Stuart Varney on “Varney & Co.”

“If you look at the helicopter literally 78 years ago and today not much has changed. So we thought… why don’t you have a helicopter in your garage to commute?… It comes down to a few things. A: they are expensive. B: very difficult to fly and C: they have a lot of what’s called single point failures. If one thing breaks on a helicopter bad things happen,” he said.

The SureFly will make its maiden voyage next month and Workhorse will fly it. The gas-generated, pilot-driven rotorcraft costs $200,000 and has 8 electrically driven propellers, which make it much safer than a regular helicopter, according to Burns.

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“You can lose a propeller, maybe even two, should you strike anything in the air for example”, Burns said. “If that should ever fail, you have a battery pack—5 minutes to get down. And on top of that it has a ballistic parachute that can carry the whole thing down.”

“The reason everybody calls it a passenger drone is it looks like your classic drone. It’s just a cock pit, two people and then four arms, two props per arm,” Burns added.

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Burns said Workhorse is working with regulators to have SureFly on the market by 2019.

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