NASA Armstrong Successfully Flies a New Subscale Aircraft

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The Subscale Research Lab during NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center in California recently introduced a new serve to their swift of tiny aircraft. The not-so-small MicroCub is a Bill Hempel 60-percent-scale super cub, mutated by Armstrong to support engineering campaigns focused on a formation of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) into a National Airspace System (NAS). Through cutting-edge engineering and consultant piloting of small, unmanned aircraft NASA is heading a vicious proviso for UAS formation into a NAS by educating engineers and validating pivotal technologies that will directly request to a subsequent era of large-scale unmanned vehicles.

Crew members of a Subscale Research Lab during NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center in California perform a array of preflight complement checks of a MicroCub to safeguard a aircraft is prepared for a lass flight.
Credits: NASA Photo / Lauren Hughes

On Jan. 18, 2018, Armstrong’s Subscale Research Lab group piloted a MicroCub for a initial flight, successfully demonstrating a aircraft’s airworthiness. This initial moody was dictated to check a belligerent doing and moody characteristics of a aircraft, along with validating a Command and Control (C2) system, verifying a “remote control only” mechanism, environment a tuning for autopilot gain, behaving engine runs, gauging fuel expenditure and contrast case speed.

Though tiny in size, a MicroCub is a absolute car in a area of tiny to midsize UAS aircraft. Specifications of a car embody a 21-foot wingspan, a Piccolo Autopilot superintendence complement and a JetCat SPT-15 Turboprop–a pattern usually indication aircraft fanatics could dream up!

The successful lass moody means a MicroCub will bear additional aircraft modifications to countenance risk rebate technology. Eventually, this record will be integrated onto other NASA UAS aircraft, such as NASA Ames’ Sensor Integrated Environmental Remote Research Aircraft, SIERRA-B.

The MicroCub, a mutated Bill Hempel 60-percent-scale super cub, approaches NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center for a landing. This was a initial moody of a MicroCub in that a organisation certified a airworthiness of a aircraft.
Credits: NASA Photo / Lauren Hughes

“In serve to assisting with UAS formation into a NAS efforts, a MicroCub is a configurable aircraft that can be mutated and employed for a accumulation of moody tests during NASA,” pronounced Justin Hall, an Armstrong operations operative and UAS pilot.

Since a initial moody in January, a Armstrong organisation has given commissioned an onboard fume complement – a see-and-avoid apparatus that can be used for manifest marker (VID) of a aircraft, ensuring that tiny to midsize UAS are detectable by other aircraft during flight. By contrast this record on a MicroCub first, NASA can record VID information during exam moody encounters, that will assistance researchers know only how manifest tiny UAS aircraft, like SIERRA-B, are from a accumulation of distances, though a risk or high cost that comes with contrast such a record on incomparable UAS like NASA’s Ikhana Predator B.

MicroCub’s tiny though versatile pattern offers a lower-cost resolution to countenance one-off airframe designs, serve conclude mandate for UAS technologies, confederate payloads, minister to risk rebate and airworthiness tests, infer unconstrained record capabilities, and grasp a accumulation of other UAS-NAS associated objectives.


The MicroCub is only one tiny step in familiarizing a open with a discernible illustration of what a destiny of unmanned moody could demeanour like in a sky above them. As NASA expands a investigate and growth of tiny unmanned aircraft vehicles, a MicroCub will continue to support UAS efforts that will eventually change and redefine UAS moody in a future.

Source: NASA

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