This proposal supports the NASA Air Vehicle Technology topic that solicits tools, technologies and capabilities to facilitate assessment of new vehicle designs and their potential performance characteristics and as specifically called out under the Physics-Based Computational Tools - Stability and Control/High Lift Design Tools topic, the definition of handling qualities for unmanned aerial systems. Beyond these specific NASA goals, NASA issued in 2014 a new strategic vision for the Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate (ARMD). From this effort came six new strategic thrusts. Of these thrusts, several involve the safe expansion of global air operations and are therefore directly related to the safe integration of UAS into the air space. The specific thrusts include safe, efficient growth in global operations, ?real-time, system-wide safety assurance, and assured autonomy for aviation transformation. This proposal therefore supports NASA's Integrated Aviation Systems Program (IASP) of which the UAS Integration in the National Airspace System (NAS) Project is another direct application. In this arena, the proposed Phase II team has discussed potential post applications with a UAS Traffic Management (UTM) project technical lead. The discussions have focused on the need to define UAS handling qualities under failure or off-nominal conditions, which is beyond scope of the proposed Phase II, but possible as a Phase IIe/III task.
The proposed Phase II team sees a strong demand for the advancement of UAS handling qualities capability from the DOD where the Air Force and Navy have long been looking for a path forward in this area. This assertion is supported by the active participation of Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) and Naval Air System Command (NAVAIR) personnel in the briefings held in Phase I. The team also sees this demand expanding to the growing commercial market, particularly on the sUAS side, as the FAA continues to open up the NAS to new UAS applications over the coming months and years. To this end, feedback from FAA personnel from the Small Airplanes Directorate was received in Phase I and their continued participation in Phase II will be encouraged. Outside of the government, this work is generating strong interest from traditional airframers and UAS manufacturers. Representatives from several of these companies are discussing possible Phase IIe opportunities to investigate UAS handling qualities in autonomous flight modes. Finally, UAS commercial end users will be engaged in the process to underscore the need for requirements as a means to demonstrate compatibility of their selected vehicle with the identified mission.