Science is a wonderful field to study and work with, especially since you get to push the boundaries of what is at the moment and take a closer look into the future. It seems that helicopters of the future will be able to gain an advantage thanks to DARPA’s work on a brand new kind of landing gear which certainly introduces a paradigm shift. Basically, this landing gear will enable helicopters to land on inclines and uneven terrain, which is something that is more or less impossible when it comes to the traditional landing skids.
Dismissing the idea of a fixed landing gear which most helicopters out there carry, this new set of a quartet of articulated legs have been specially designed to work in the same vein as that of an insect’s. Certainly there is nothing quite like receiving inspiration from nature, as that is what has been happening all this while over the centuries as man innovates and mimics what already works best around us.
Each of the legs will arrive fitted with force feedback sensors so that it knows just the right amount of pressure that is required to exert so that the aircraft will remain level regardless of terrain. DARPA program manager Ashish Bagai shared, “The equipment — mounted on an otherwise unmodified, unmanned helicopter — successfully demonstrated the ability to land and take off from terrain that would be impossible to operate from with standard landing gear.” [Press Release]