The Advanced UAV Team is registered to compete in the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) Seafarer Chapter’s 13th Annual Student Unmanned Air Systems (SUAS) Competition, scheduled to take place June 17th-21st. When asked what the most difficult task was prospected to be, team captain Thomas Ryan answered that equipping and programming the UAV to accomplish all of the flight missions in the competition certainly would be, which is the grand objective of this team’s project. They have already installed an auto pilot into the UAV and added airspeed sensors on the tip of the wings and have had two test flights; one occurred at the end of January and another at the beginning of February, both of which were very successful. To ensure safe landing in the snow during the first flight, the team built skis for their aircraft.
During the second test flight, the team tested features of the UAV’s autopilot system. Team member Antonio Martinez has been using the Ardupilot Mission Planner software to communicate with the receiver on the UAV. Ryan commented that they have been taking off and landing the plane with a controller, but once the UAV is in the air, he switches the setting on the remote to an automated mode and everything else that the UAV does is completely laissez-faire. Eventually, Ryan says, the UAV will be able to take off and land on its own. In this test flight, the UAV successfully flew to designated GPS coordinate points and circled the location in a fixed given radius.
“It was really cool. I took my hands off the control, and [the UAV] flew to the GPS location and started flying in circles around it.” – Thomas Ryan
In the upcoming months, the team’s goal is to take data from a camera (that will be attached to the plane) and locate GPS points through advanced image processing. By doing so, the team should learn where the plane is and where the plane is heading in real time. Additionally, the team will design a complex algorithms process that will allow the UAV to identify ground targets and drop payloads upon detection.
Stay tuned for more updates!
The team packed up their rocket and gear the weekend of April 26th, and made the long drive up the the URRG launch in upstate New York. On Saturday the team launched their 15 ft rocket. The rocket flew perfectly, and experienced members commented that they would never have expected such a large rocket to fly so straight. Unfortunately, though the charges and backup charges went off as planned, the rocket sections did not separate preventing the parachutes from deploying. Despite this hiccup, the team is excited to have constructed a rocket on such a large scale which flew beautifully.
The UAV, Alpha, flew successfully again this past Saturday, April 19th. This time, however, the plains wings were attached via a scissor wing mechanism. This mechanism was composed of a laser cut structure and ball bearings which allowed the plane’s wing to rotate on an axis and fold up parallel to the body. The group drove to the Swamp Flyers Flying Club Field and flew the plane for several hours without any issues.
The UAV Team paraded into the CEID last week with fifteen feet of sonotube fourteen inches in diameter. Rather than sit at home and laze away their spring break, the group set to work constructing a massive rocket. The rocket will house the project’s UAV, an RC plane whose wings use a scissor wing mechanism designed by YUAA members to fold up inside the rocket. Either the strong will and hard work of the team or the rockets shear size caught the attention of the Yale School of Engineering and Applied science, and the project and rocket construction is featured in an article posted on their website today!
Just before the rocket’s construction, the scissor wing mechanism was completed and tested in the CEID. The team hopes to test it in flight soon. Check it out in the video below!
Saturday morning November 16th, at Swamp Flyers Flying Club Field, the UAV flew for the first time after being constructed by the UAV team. The plane made three flights that were five to eight minutes long, and it performed above expectations. It flew by radio control (the future goal is to fly autonomously), but the team was still able to test how easily the plane will be able to gain control after being deployed from the rocket. It was discovered that the plane could go from an almost stand still to flying without dropping more than five feet, which is a very promising result for the future.
At the previous meeting on Sunday, September 22nd, the Executive Board of the Yale Undergraduate Aerospace Association announced that the Boeing Company has decided to sponsor YUAA. After meeting with the CEO of Boeing at the CEID Dedication this past February, members of the Finance Team kept in contact. The Boeing grant is particularly geared towards funding the exciting UAV project. The UAV team has been hard at work designing and implementing a mechanism for fitting their RC plane into the rocket from which it will be deployed.
YUAA is thrilled to have this sponsorship from a company which has been such a leader in aerospace innovation, and is confident that with Boeing’s support, the UAV project will be successful. The organization hopes to pursue a lasting partnership with the Boeing in the future.