Tue, Jun 30, 2009
Cessna 337 Was "Optionally Piloted" Testbed
Aurora Flight Sciences announced
Monday that it has successfully demonstrated fully autonomous
takeoffs and landings (ATOL) on a General Aviation aircraft.
The tests have been underway since March using a company-owned
Cessna 337 configured as an "optionally piloted" aircraft testbed.
The aircraft is known as "Chiron."
The flights have been conducted under the FAA Experimental
category and took place near Aurora's headquarters in Manassas,
Virginia. A safety pilot and a test engineer were onboard the
aircraft at all times. The Chiron test configuration allows for
seamless transition between piloted and autonomous flight, allowing
the testing of multiple configurations per sortie while ensuring
safe operations. The pilot retains the ability to take control or
transition back to manual control at any time.
"The successful Chiron ATOL testing marks a major step forward
for Aurora's unmanned technology," said Rob Searle, the chief
engineer for the program. "While Aurora has routinely operated
vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) unmanned aircraft in a fully
autonomous mode, this marks the first time we have performed fully
autonomous takeoffs and landings in a conventional takeoff and
landing (CTOL) configuration."
Most current UAVs, such as the Predator, have a pilot "in the
loop" for takeoff and landing. Department of Defense studies have
identified this approach as a major source of UAV accidents and
The technology will be incorporated in several upcoming Aurora
programs, most notably a high-altitude, long-endurance technology
demonstrator known as Orion.
Vicious Campaign Against Skydiving Operation By Small, But Vocal, Group Loses Court Case News/Analysis by ANN CEO/Editor-In-Chief, Jim Campbell Those of us who work and play in the>[...]
Also: Air Power Museum, ANN Could Use A Little Help From Its Friends, GE Honda, Mexican-Registry TBM 900, Legacy 500, BBJ Winglets, Wheels Up Order The new Falcon 5X is getting clo>[...]
Progress Continues To Be Made To Return Humanity To The Moon XPRIZE and Google have officially confirmed a further extension of the $30 million Google Lunar XPRIZE. XPRIZE notes th>[...]
“It is the Sikorsky Innovations charter to identify the toughest challenges in vertical flight, and to demonstrate solutions to them. Getting an all-new aircraft into flight,>[...]
CoAxial Helo Heralds Development Of Exciting New Rotorcraft We knew it was close... and now it's real. Sikorsky has confirmed the successful first flight of the S-97 RAIDER helicop>[...]