NASA, Bell complete helicopter, APT-70 Flights

NASA’s Advanced Air Mobility National Campaign continues to prepare for National Campaign 1 or NC-1 by conducting flight test efforts with various industry partners.

The team most recently completed flights with Bell’s APT-70 remotely piloted aircraft Dec. 14, 2021, at the AllianceTexas Mobility Innovation Zone in Fort Worth, Texas, to test Bell’s Ground Based Surveillance System or GBSS. Helicopter flights with a Bell 429 were also conducted in September for this same effort. Both test efforts are an extension of NASA’s Systems Integration and Operationalization demonstrations.

Bell developed a deployable and low-cost GBSS made of 15 Echodyne radars. The goal was for NASA researchers to evaluate if this system would be feasible for future use in identifying uncontrolled air taxi traffic to help avoid collision risk.

The NASA team collected GBSS data from both the helicopter and APT-70 flights in preparation for future flight test collaborations with Bell. The data is currently being evaluated to see how well the system tracked the two vehicles during the flights.

Bell is one of several industry partners NASA’s AAM National Campaign will be working with over the coming months. Each industry partner brings new technology, vehicle designs or infrastructure ideas to the project.

NASA’s vision for Advanced Air Mobility is to map out a safe, accessible, and affordable new air transportation system alongside industry partners and the Federal Aviation Administration. Once developed, passengers and cargo will travel on-demand in innovative, automated aircraft across town, between neighboring cities, or to other locations typically accessed today by car.

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