UV - Unmanned Vehicles

Vanilla’s VA001 UAV completes five-day flight

30th October 2017 - 04:10 GMT | by The Shephard News Team

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Vanilla Aircraft's VA001 UAS has successfully completed an unmanned internal combustion powered flight that lasted for five days, one hour and 24 minutes, the company announced on 26 October.

After a pilot-controlled takeoff on 18 October from the NASA Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia, the UAS undertook its long endurance test flight, switching to autopilot control and orbiting above Wallops Island's Virginia Space UAS Runway at 5,000ft in a two-mile orbit.

During the flight, the 36ft wingspan, diesel-powered aircraft carried multiple payloads, including a NASA-furnished multispectral imager and a US DoD-furnished sensor and radio.

Having covered 7000 miles, the aircraft made a successful autonomous landing back at NASA Wallops on 23 October with three days of fuel remaining on board.

The VA001 aircraft is designed to operate for up to ten days at altitudes of 15,000ft with a dash speed of 75 knots and loiter speeds of around 55 knots. The aircraft is being positioned for long endurance missions for both commerical and military markets.

Additional flights will now be carried out to demonstrate the UAS' ability to carry classified and unclassified payloads, including electro-optical and infrared imagers, synthetic aperture radar, signal intelligence systems and communications nodes.

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