Inside Unmanned Systems provides actionable business intelligence to decision-makers and influencers operating within the global UAS community. Features include analysis of key technologies, policy/regulatory developments and new product design.
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58 unmanned systems inside June/July 2016 The Alliance for System Safety of UAS through Research Excellence (ASSURE) is comprised of twenty-two of the world's leading research institutions and more than a hundred leading industry/government partners. S afety studies supporting integration of unmanned aircraft into the airspace are entering a new phase involving launching drones and drone components into sample cockpits, test dummies and, ultimately, an aircraft engine. The scientists at ASSURE, the Federal Aviation Admin- istration's year-old Center of Excellence for Unmanned Aircraft Systems, are modeling what happens when drones collide with manned aircraft (air-to-air collisions) or strike people (air-to-ground collisions). The models will enable scientists to study a wide variety of past and poten- tial events, and test ideas for improving safety, without destroying expensive hardware. by Dee Ann Divis IT'S ALL GOOD: CRASHING DRONES FOR SCIENCE For the models to be truly useful, however, they must be validated. That is realistic tests must be conducted and the results compared to what the models predict. If the models' re- sults don't match the real-world outcomes, the models must be adjusted. "(With models) we can run a million differ- ent angles and orientations to better analyze all of the different impacts," said David Ar- terburn, director of the Rotorcraft Systems Engineering and Simulation Center at the Uni- versity of Alabama in Huntsville. This phase of the work, he said, is looking only at the results of different impacts, not their probability. Air-To-Air The research underway on air-to-air collisions focuses on accidents between a small unmanned aircraft system (UAS) and a Part 25 aircraft, a category comprising mostly commercial airlin- ers such as a Boeing 727 and newer business jets. These types of passenger-carrying planes are built to particularly strict safety standards. The universities involved—Wichita State, Montana State and Ohio State—already have models of passenger airliners and aircraft en- gines. They are now modeling the materials in and characteristics of unmanned aircraft, spe- cifically a small UAS quad-rotor and a small fixed-wing, looking at popular models of UAS to understand the materials from which they are made. "So basically what we have done, we've re- verse engineered different UAS from fixed- wing to multi-rotors with mass ranging from 2 pounds to 10 pounds," said Gerardo Olivares, director of crash dynamics and computational mechanics at Wichita State's National Insti- tute for Aviation Research (NIAR). "We've been building detailed models of whole possible areas of the aircraft where we could have an impact between a UAS and an aircraft," Olivares told a session at AUVSI's Xponential conference in May. "And we are con- ducting simulation studies to assess the level of