“NOT ONLY CAN I LAND BY MYSELF, BUT I CAN PICK A SAFE PLACE TO LAND ON!”
The above is the Boeing Little Bird – with a difference. It can determine where it is safe to land – and then land itself autonomously. No human pilot required.
One of the many rather remarkable aspects of the Little Bird is that its basic design dates back to the Vietnam War where it first put in an appearance as a compact, light, maneuverable, recon helicopter which quickly required a reputation for being highly survivable in the event of a crash.
One tactic that was used in Vietnam was for the Little Bird to flow so low that it’s pilot could literally eyeball the enemy and then for a helicopter gunship to finish the job if the hostiles were either seen or provoked to fire. This was a tactic that required great skill and strong nerves—but neither were lacking in Army aviation then, as now.
To be continued…