Mon, Jul 25, 2011
'Transformer-Like' Propulsion System To Be 'Flown' In UMd. Wind
The propulsion system for an unmanned aerial vehicle that takes
off vertically like a Transformer robot then shifts to horizontal
flight mid-air will be tested at the University of Maryland's Glenn
L. Martin Wind Tunnel. Called the AD-150, the aircraft, developed
by Jessup, MD-based American Dynamics Flight Systems, is one of the
few unmanned vehicles designed to take off vertically and travel
like an airplane at speeds of the Osprey ... about 240 miles per
hour. It is planned for payloads that include weaponry, an array of
sensors, or wounded soldiers with its 500-pound useful load.
American Dynamics Image
The AD-150 is being developed for emerging U.S. Navy and U.S.
Marine Corps requirements for high-speed, vertical take-off and
landing (VTOL) unmanned aircraft systems.
The wind tunnel's large turbine will blow high-speed wind over
the propulsion system while sensors measure the resulting forces
and moments from which flight behavior can be predicted. Smoke may
be used to visualize airflow.
The test, made possible by a $135,000 grant from the Maryland
Industrial Partnerships (MIPS) program, will be the first in a
series demonstrating the performance of the AD-150 during critical
transition maneuvers between hover and forward flight. Additional
testing is planned over the next four months. The test program
itself will also demonstrate a set of new test procedures that can
greatly influence the development of future VTOL aircraft
propulsion systems and pave the way to cost-effectively scaling
ducted fan propulsion systems. No firm date has been set for the
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