July 9, 2022

After a year of hard work developing the revolutionary Thunderbird drone, DroneTeam Twente takes home the Media & Engagement Award from their participation at the 2022 iMechE UAS Challenge. This award is given to the team that has engaged most effectively with media, social media, schools and local students as part of the STEM Outreach Programme in England.

As the team traveled to England, they chose not to participate in the live fly-off event as the drone still had some vibrational issues that could not be resolved in time. Therefore, the team decided to focus on showing off their innovative drone to the world, and explaining the box-wing design and its advantages to the students and companies present. This mission was successful, as there was lots of interest in the drone with 3D-printed fuselage and the unique combination of a box-wing design incorporating VTOL. 

By combining the fixed wing with a VTOL system, the drone is highly efficient when flying, but can also take off and land without a runway. This means applications such as rescue missions, agriculture monitoring and remote package delivery become possible. As our goal is to innovate and accelerate the drone industry, being present at the UAS Challenge and learning from the industry leaders present was an immensely valuable experience for the team.

We are very proud of the team for developing one of the world’s few box-wing planes, and the only one in this size range. For the moment, we will continue developing Thunderbird and finish the year off with a test flight demonstration to show our drone can fly a humanitarian aid mission. Our thanks goes out to all of our partners who made this possible, in particular Sekisui Kasei, University of Twente, Space53, Saxion, NLR and DroneFlight Academy.

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