UK Team Trials New Ultra-Endurance Air Vehicle | Aero-News Network
Aero-News Network
RSS icon RSS feed
podcast icon MP3 podcast
Subscribe Aero-News e-mail Newsletter Subscribe

Airborne Unlimited -- Recent Daily Episodes

Episode Date

Airborne Unlimited-
Monday

Airborne-Unmanned w/AUVSI-
Tuesday

Airborne Unlimited-
Wednesday

AMA Drone Report-
Thursday

Airborne Unlimited-
Friday

Airborne On ANN

Airborne Unlimited--09.16.19

Airborne UnManned--09.17.19

Airborne Unlimited--09.18.19

AMA Drone Report--09.19.19

Airborne Unlimited--09.20.19

Airborne-YouTube

Airborne Unlimited--09.16.19

Airborne UnManned--09.17.19

Airborne Unlimited--09.18.19

AMA Drone Report--09.19.19

Airborne Unlimited--09.20.19

Fri, Apr 26, 2019

UK Team Trials New Ultra-Endurance Air Vehicle

Aircraft Employs Variable-Buoyancy Propulsion

A group of U.K. experts has successfully flown the first ever large-scale aircraft powered by variable-buoyancy propulsion. The Phoenix is designed to repeatedly transition from being lighter than air to being heavier than air so thrust is generated to propel the craft forward.

Variable-buoyancy propulsion is used in underwater remotely operated vehicles, but has never before been harnessed for large aircraft. The system means the uninhabited vehicle is self-sufficient in energy so could, in theory, be operational for an unlimited period of time, an innovation which could revolutionize the telecommunications industry.

The team behind the ultra-long endurance autonomous aircraft includes representatives from academia and industry. Andrew Rae, Professor of Engineering at the University of the Highlands and Islands Perth College UHI Campus, led the design of the airplane. "The Phoenix spends half its time as a heavier-than-air airplane, the other as a lighter-than-air balloon. The repeated transition between these states provides the sole source of propulsion," Rae said.

“The vehicle’s fuselage contains helium to allow it to ascend and also contains an air bag which inhales and compresses air to enable the craft to descend. This motion propels the airplane forwards and is assisted by the release of the compressed air through a rear vent. This system allows the Phoenix to be completely self-sufficient. The energy needed to power its pumps and valves is provided by a battery which is charged by lightweight flexible solar cells on its wings and tail.

“Vehicles based on this technology could be used as pseudo satellites and would provide a much cheaper option for telecommunication activities. Current equivalent aeroplanes are very complex and very expensive. By contrast, Phoenix is almost expendable and so provides a user with previously unavailable options.”

The prototype airplane, which is 49-feet long and has a wingspan of 35.5 feet, was flown successfully and repeatedly over a distance of about 400 feet during indoor trials at the Drystack facility in Portsmouth in March. The test flight was the culmination of a three-year project to prove the viability of a variable-buoyancy powered aircraft.

The Phoenix team are now exploring collaborations with major manufacturers to take the technology to the next phase of development. The project has been part-funded by Innovate-UK, the UK’s Innovation Agency, through the Aerospace Technology Institute.

(Images from Highlands and Islands Perth College video)

FMI: www.perth.uhi.ac.uk

Advertisement

More News

AMA Drone Report 09.12.19: ANAFI FPV, EAA Comments on Amazon, Remote ID SNAFU

Also: Drone Threat Against Heathrow, Football Foul-Up, Iran Arrests Drone Pilots, Flirtey Unveils 'The Future' The ANAFI FPV drone from Parrot puts the operator in the cockpit of P>[...]

Airborne 09.18.19: Draco's Demise, Redbird Skyport Shutdown, tailBeacon STC

Also: Boeing T-X Becomes T-7A Red Hawk, TFRs Near Area 51, NASCAR Driver Lost, Maine Air Show A PZL-104 Draco Turbine Wilga belonging to Mike Patey was substantially damaged depart>[...]

Airborne 09.18.19: Draco's Demise, Redbird Skyport Shutdown, tailBeacon STC

Also: Boeing T-X Becomes T-7A Red Hawk, TFRs Near Area 51, NASCAR Driver Lost, Maine Air Show A PZL-104 Draco Turbine Wilga belonging to Mike Patey was substantially damaged depart>[...]

Airborne-Unmanned 09.17.19: Flirtey Unveiling, Silent Arrow, AIRT UAS

Also: Dubai Police, Volocopter $$$, RAF Selects Leonardo, Rafael Acquisition In an event held last week at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., Flirtey unveiled an advanced>[...]

AMA Drone Report 09.19.19: Flts Over People, Women & Drones, China UAV Ban?

Also: NASA's Dragonfly, Area 51 TFR, KDOT UAV Airport Inspections, Commercial Drone Market Gains OK... this episode is loaded with a lot of regulatory stuff... so strap in and hang>[...]

blog comments powered by Disqus



Advertisement

Advertisement

Podcasts

Advertisement

© 2007 - 2019 Web Development & Design by Pauli Systems, LC