NLR HeliTech drone

New 40 kg RPAS helicopter enables NLR to facilitate testing of large sensors and provide pilot training for heavy-class RPAS

NLR is specialised in RPAS research, testing, applications and training (RPAS stands for Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems, commonly known as ‘drones’). NLR now also has a new “heavy” RPAS helicopter. The new helicopter (PH-1AP) has a maximum take off mass of 40 kilogrammes, a rotor diameter of 2.6 metre, and is equipped with a gas turbine engine. By means of this new category RPAS, NLR is responding to demand for testing large sensors with drones. It will now also be possible to receive pilot training at NLR for RPAS that are heavier than 25 kilogrammes. To date NLR is the only organization in the Netherlands approved by the Inspectie Leefomgeving en Transport (Dutch Human Environment and Transport Inspectorate – ILT) to provide business users with theoretical and practical training courses for the RPA-L pilot licence. The RPAS helicopter was built especially for NLR by Helitech, a firm based at Lunteren in the Netherlands, and has been optimized for the testing of sensors.


Netherlands RPAS Test Centre
At year-end 2015, NLR established the Netherlands RPAS Test Centre (NRTC). The centre tests and evaluates RPAS and sensor applications (including prototypes), facilitates demonstrations, performs flight inspections, provides practical RPAS training courses, and carries out technical inspections. For these activities the NRTC has its own airspace, complete with the required authorizations and exemptions. Located in the province of Flevoland, the NRTC offers civil and military developers, manufacturers and business users a possibility to carry out the test flights necessary to respond to the economic opportunities presented by RPAS developments. The NRTC is co-located at the NLR test facility in the town of Marknesse.

More information: Matthijs van Essen  (