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Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Tech Transfer

Design of Prototype-Technology Evaluator and Research Aircraft (PTERA) Configuration for Loss of Control Flight Research

Completed Technology Project

Project Description

Design of Prototype-Technology Evaluator and Research Aircraft (PTERA) Configuration for Loss of Control Flight Research
The Area-I team has developed and fabricated the unmanned Prototype-Technology Evaluation and Research Aircraft or PTERA ("ptera" being Greek for wing, or wing-like). The PTERA is an extremely versatile and high-quality, yet inexpensive flight research testbed that serves as a bridge between wind tunnel and manned flight testing by enabling the low-cost, low-risk flight-based evaluation of a wide array of high-risk technologies. For this work, the team proposes to augment the existing PTERA platform such that it is directly tailored for Loss-of-Control (LoC) flight research. The resulting PTERA-LoC configuration will provide the NASA LoC flight research program with the following core capabilities: 1) A large airframe that minimizes scaling and Reynolds number effects, yet is easily disassembled and transported 2) A modular fuselage design that will enable the reconfiguration of the PTERA-LoC fuselage, thus allowing the team to fabricate/assemble fuselage configurations that maintain near geometric similitude with a wide array of "tube-and-wing" aircraft using existing fuselage tooling. 3) Modular wing design that facilitates the integration of advanced aerodynamic treatments, split control surfaces, and aeroelastic and damage emulation mechanisms. 4) Large payload capacity, voluminous payload bays, and large clamshell doors that facilitate the integration of sensor and avionics systems, provide easy access during flight testing, and allow for plenty of payload capacity and volume for integrating ballast for dynamic scaling. 5) A low-cost airframe that facilitates the execution of flight test maneuvers and/or the flight testing of cutting-edge and complex systems whose risks and/or costs are too high for manned flights More »

Anticipated Benefits

Primary U.S. Work Locations and Key Partners

Technology Transitions

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This is a historic project that was completed before the creation of TechPort on October 1, 2012. Available data has been included. This record may contain less data than currently active projects.