Developmental flight testing of a half scale unmanned air vehicle
Salmons, James Dale
Howard, Richard M.
Pagenkopf, Eric L.
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This thesis sought to perform developmental flight testing of a half- scale unmanned air vehicle. To do this the half scale version of the Pioneer (used by the US Marine Corps for training) was chosen as the airframe to instrument because of problems that the Unmanned Air Vehicle Office at the Pacific Missile Test Center had identified in the full scale version of the Pioneer. Problems included: (1) discrepancies in the predicted and flight tested rate-of-climb, time-to-climb and fuel flow at altitude; (2) apparent autopilot- related pitch instability; (3) tail boom structural failure; (4) severely limited lateral control; (5) slow pitch response causing degraded maneuverability at high gross weights; and (6) insufficient testing to determine the effects of the new wing on flight endurance. A developmental flight test was conducted for the purpose of predicting the longitudinal and lateral directional behavior of the full scale vehicle. Instrumentation, developed and installed in the radio controlled aircraft, allowed for measurement and recording of control surface movement, indicated airspeed, sideslip angle and angle of attack. The measurement system operated successfully; the data recording system suffered limitations due to vibration introduced into the airframe by the propeller and engine. Lateral-directional data were obtained from steady sideslip maneuvers, but longitudinal data taken for trimmed flights with varied center-of-gravity positions were unusable. Data was compared to available full scale information. Further flight tests are required to build a larger data base to estimate the behavior of the full scale Pioneer.
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