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Defining Handling Qualities of Unmanned Aerial Systems, Phase II

Active Technology Project

Project Introduction

Unmanned Air Systems (UAS) are no longer coming, they are here, and operators from first responders to commercial operators are demanding access to the National Airspace System (NAS) for a wide variety of missions. This includes a proliferation of small UAS that will operate beyond line of sight at altitudes of 500 ft and below. Currently the UAS arena includes traditional airframers, established UAS manufacturers, hobbyists, academic institutions, and many air vehicle newcomers such as Amazon, Google, and Facebook that see UAS as a means to other commercial ends. A myriad of issues continues to slow the development of verification, validation, and certification methods that will enable the safe introduction of UAS to the NAS. These issues include the lack of both a consensus UAS categorization process and quantitative certification requirements including the definition of handling qualities. The how to of safely integrating UAS in the NAS raises many questions, and to date, there have been few answers. Perhaps the problem is too big. Because of a lack of quantitative data, attempts to address core problems thus far have failed to achieve consensus support. This Phase II program does not propose to tame the entire verification, validation, and certification problem, but instead to address the important need to define UAS handling qualities in piloted, pilot monitoring, and autonomous operations via a mission-oriented approach with an end product being the UAS Handling Qualities Assessment software toolbox (UAS-HQ) and corresponding specification that will guide UAS stakeholders through a systematic evaluation process. This process will be validated in Phase II via full flight envelope testing of a fixed wing UAS and low/speed hover flight regime testing of a multi-rotor UAS. More »

Anticipated Benefits

Primary U.S. Work Locations and Key Partners

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Project Duration

Technology Maturity (TRL)

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