How About a Drone That Comes in Peace?

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 1 Comment

UMARS – Unmanned Modular Airborne Research System, is a “research platform for near-ground atmospheric research,” according to its developers, IMES (Institut für Mechanische Systeme) and the ZAV ( Centre for Aviation and Transport Systems) in Switzerland. UMARS can operate as a radio-controlled aircraft or autonomously, and carries sensors that can collect information on wind strength and direction, temperature, dewpoint, and other atmospheric parameters. Its applications can include geodetic measurements and “relief for natural disasters” such as forest fire monitoring. Its small size allows operations without prepared runways, enabling it to be launched close to target areas, giving it greater time for observation and data collection. Autopilot subsystems for autonomous flights are under development, and will enable UMARS use by relatively untrained “pilots.” Recent deployment of an emergency parachute system shows that the airplane can be retrieved as needed. It has gone through at least two basic configurations, the first with a centrally-joined inverted V tail between its twin booms, and …

Glass Like Metal, Plastic Like Steel

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

 Two very different materials forming techniques using materials that seem to defy their “normal” characteristics promise lighter, stronger, more efficiently manufactured products – with potential applications for green flight.  Dr. Seeley shared this item from Science Daily, regarding the potential use for this new material in the solar highways reported here.  One critique of that design is the need to maintain structural integrity with semi-trucks passing over a layer of glass through which everything from lane markers to warning messages could be displayed.  Jan Schroers, a materials scientist at Yale University, is experimenting with a new class of materials called bulk metallic glasses (BMG), or metal allows with randomly arranged atoms.  “Normal” metals have more well-ordered crystalline structures, but the random atoms of BMGs, “Can be molded into complex shapes with the same ease and low expense as plastic but without sacrificing the strength and durability of metal,” according to Science Daily’s February 28, 2011 report. The report quotes Schroers, …

How Small Can You Make A Gyro?

Dean Sigler Uncategorized Leave a Comment

MEMS (micro-electrical-mechanical systems) are rapidly becoming hot items in the electronics market. Consider the rather amazing controllers for WII games.  These provide a degree of haptic feedback, partly based on the MEMS inside.  Your iPhone or GameBoy have MEMS devices that allow realistic banking and turning on screen – again based on gyro feedback from MEMS devices. Consider putting this micro-gyro capability into a heading hold and wing leveler device in an electronic certified flight instructor envisioned by the CAFE Foundation, and you can see why this technology holds promise for safer flight and expanded light aircraft capabilities. Eagletree has a range of telemetry and monitoring products for model aircraft that combine this technology with sophisticated radio gear, including video capabilities, and you have a powerful tool for development.