The L3Harris built Hybrid Quadrotor 90C (HQ-90) arrived at NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center in California on Sept. 30 and was transferred to AFRC’s Dale Reed Subscale Flight Research Lab on Oct. 1.
Engineers Derek Abramson and Robert Jensen assembled the aircraft for the Resilient Autonomy project.
When the aircraft is ready to fly the team will perform flight tests in a variety of scenarios using the Expandable Variable Autonomy Architecture software.
The project will test the software and inform airworthiness requirements to enable future autonomy, such as link-less operations in an unpiloted aircraft, while also providing enhanced automated safety to modern piloted aircraft.
In parallel with data collection from flight-testing and simulation, the Federal Aviation Administration is developing a certification approach that could leverage a common framework of the EVAA system for potential use on aircraft ranging from general aviation retrofit to future autonomous aircraft.
This HQ-90 named “Lewis” is a hybrid vertical takeoff and landing fixed-wing remotely piloted aircraft featuring an 8-to 22-pound payload capacity. The aircraft has a long-endurance flight time of 12 to 22 hours, depending on the payload. The HQ-90 is 120 pounds, 98 inches long and has a 185-inch wingspan.
A second HQ-90 named “Clark” is set to arrive at AFRC in late 2020. This second aircraft will have integrated acoustic sensors in the custom-made wings to help detect air traffic. Also included in the shipment will be a second set of these wings to replace the wings on the first aircraft. One vehicle will remain at AFRC and the second vehicle will be transferred to the U.S. Department of Defense.