Supplier Spotlight

Video Exclusives

VSS Unity spaceplane completes second test flight

Watch Virgin Galactic and The Spaceship Company's VSS Unity complete its second successful, supersonic, rocket powered test flight to an altitude of 114,500ft and a speed of Mach 1.9.

Click here to watch video

06 June, 2018



Space Launch System - in numbers

Discover how engineers are outfitting the world’s most powerful rocket with sensors, cables and other equipment in this 2:40 video.

Click here to watch video

15 May, 2018



Blue Origin launches and lands New Shepard rocket

Watch Amazon founder Jeff Bezos' space tourism company Blue Origin successfully launch and land a used rocket and capsule.

Click here to watch video

02 May, 2018



 

To watch more videos, click here

In which decade was the first military drone used?

News

NASA tests solo Ikhana drone in public airspace for the first time

 Ikhana droneNASA’s remotely-piloted Ikhana aircraft, based at the agency’s Armstrong Flight Research Center, is flown in preparation for its first mission in public airspace without a safety chase aircraft. (Image: NASA/Carla Thomas)
 

NASA's remotely-piloted Ikhana aircraft has flown its first mission in the USA’s National Airspace System without a safety chase aircraft to demonstrate a suite of detect and avoid technologies.

 

Ikhana, which is based at the agency's Armstrong Flight Research Center in Edwards, California flew the mission on June 12, 2018.

 

Ed Waggoner, NASA’s integrated aviation systems program director said, “This is a huge milestone for the team on our Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration in the National Airspace System project. We worked closely with our Federal Aviation Administration colleagues for several months to ensure we met all their requirements to make this initial flight happen.”

 

The Ikhana is a MQ-9 Predator B drone acquired by NASA in November 2006 to support Earth science missions and to act as a testbed to develop capabilities and technologies to improve the utility of unmanned drones.

 

According to NASA, the technology being trialled in Ikhana could be scaled down for use in other general aviation aircraft in the future.

 

The Ikhana aircraft was equipped with an airborne radar developed by General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, a Honeywell Traffic Alert and Collision Avoidance System, a Detect and Avoid Fusion Tracker, and an Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast capability. This surveillance technology makes the aircraft capable of determining its position via satellite navigation and periodically broadcasts this information so other aircraft can track it.

 

The flight took off from Edwards Air Force Base in California and entered controlled air space almost immediately. Ikhana flew into the Class-A airspace, where commercial airliners fly, just west of Edwards at an altitude of about 20,000ft. The aircraft then turned north toward Fresno, requiring air traffic control to be transferred from the Los Angeles Air Route Traffic Control Center to the Oakland Air Route Traffic Control Center. On the return trip, the pilot headed south toward Victorville, California, requiring communication control to be transferred back to Los Angeles.

 

During the return flight, the pilot began a gentle descent over the city of Tehachapi, California, into Class E airspace, about 10,000ft, where general aviation pilots fly. The pilot initiated an approach into Victorville airport at 5,000ft, coordinating in real time with air traffic controllers at the airport. After successfully executing all of these milestones, the aircraft exited the public airspace and returned to its base at Armstrong.

 

Special permission was granted to NASA by the FAA for Ikhana’s pilot to use the latest detect and avoid technology and remotely pilot the aircraft from the ground. NASA has worked with industry partners and the FAA for several years to develop a standard for detect and avoid technologies.

 

The flight was the first remotely-piloted aircraft to use airborne detect and avoid technology to meet the intent of the FAA’s “see and avoid” rules, with all test objectives successfully accomplished.

 

“We are flying with a suite of sophisticated technology that greatly enhances the safety capabilities of pilots flying large unmanned aircraft in the National Airspace System,” said Scott Howe, a test pilot at Armstrong. “We took the time to mitigate the risks and to ensure that we, as a program, were prepared for this flight.”

 

June 13, 2018

 

Written by Ben Sampson


RECEIVE THE
LATEST NEWS


Your email address:



Read Latest Issue

Read Latest Issue

Web Exclusives

Marine Dumont, business development manager, Kistler Instruments outlines how innovation in dynamometers is enabling clearer images of Earth from satellites 
Click here to read more

Steve Drake, NDT market manager for Ashtead Technologies, describes how the rapid deployment of the latest borescope equipment to Africa helped a business aviation operator make tough decisions about a grounded aircraft 
Click here to read more

Hardware-in-the-loop systems have helped to reduce flight testing of Saab's latest fighter jet, writes National Instruments in this case study
Click here to read more

An experiment is set to be launched from the International Space Station this month which turns the normal approach to space on its head – instead of putting things into space, this experiment aims to test ways to take things out of space. 
Click here to read more

Ergonomics and human factors is vital in aircraft but can be overlooked during testing and development. Here Nick discusses the latest trends and developments in cockpit design and testing.
Click here to read more


Supplier Spotlight

Supplier SpotlightClick here for listings and information on leading suppliers covering all aspects of the aerospace testing industry. Want to see your company included? Contact tom.eames@ukimediaevents.com for more details.

Submit your industry opinion

Industry BlogDo you have an opinion you'd like to share with the aerospace testing community? Good or bad, we'd like to hear your views and opinions on the leading issues shaping the industry. Share your comments by sending up to 500 words to anthony.james@ukimediaevents.com

Submit Your Recruitment Ad

Recruitment AdTo send us your recruitment advertising or to receive information on placing a banner please email ben.sampson@ukimediaevents.com