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Firebird—manned or unmanned by Burt Rutan

3 September 2018

 

Firebird recce aircraft—Northrop Grumman image

The last official design of Burt Rutan, Firebird is a medium range long endurance reconnaissance aircraft which one ben flown manned or unmanned. Flying since late 2012 it operates as many as four sensor systems in parallel with a crew of as many as two though unmanned as missions require. Endurance is 40+ hours at ceilings as high as 30,000 feet. Made of composites, naturally as a Burt Rutan design, its pusher prop is powered by a Lycoming TO-540 horizontally opposed six-cylinder reciprocating engine of 350 hp. Payload is limited to a lithesome 1240 pounds and maximum speed is an almost leisurely 230 mph.

Firebird recce aircraft—Northrop Grumman image

Firebird recce aircraft—Northrop Grumman image

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