Event 38, an Ohio-based drone manufacturer, has just announced its first VTOL drone called the E400. Built in the US, it is on a short list of fixed-wing VTOL drones made stateside.
Sporting a 90-minute flight time, the E400 from Event38 is a fixed-wing VTOL drone similar to Autel’s Dragonfish and many others made by different companies worldwide. This is a first for Event 38, with its previous professional drones needing the assistance of a human throwing them to take off. Now the company’s mapping drones will be able to compete with drones that can take off vertically, just like a consumer drone.
The E400 also sports what Event 38 is calling a hot-swappable camera payload. The company offers several pre-built solutions or the ability to create your own using its open-source autopilot software, and says the payload can be swapped in less than a minute without any tools.
We’ve been making fixed-wing drones for over a decade, but the E400 is our first fixed-wing drone with VTOL capabilities. We’re extremely proud to offer this feature. At Event 38, we’re always looking for ways to make our drones more useful and accessible. Adding VTOL functionality improved the user friendliness of the E400 by leaps and bounds.Jeff Taylor, Founder & CEO of Event 38
Some other stats for you: the E400 has a 118-inch wingspan and is 59 inches long, but it can be packed inside its 36x45x13.5 inch case. It can support up to 2.9 lbs of payload and has a maximum takeoff weight of 20 lbs. Finally, the E400 can cruise at 31 knots, have a straight line distance of 54 miles, and can fly in winds up to 23 knots and light rain, per Event 38’s website.
Event 38 designed the E400 and its other drones for agriculture, law enforcement, and the military. Development of the E400 began when Event 38 began research into the technology with the Air Force and later did tests on an aircraft with the Air National Guard using military-grade carbon fiber.
The E400 will set you back a cool $18,900 at its starting price, much higher than its previous hand-thrown E384 and E386 models. But the ultra-light, long-endurance VTOL aircraft might just be what you need.