Potsdam, N.Y.-based Clarkson University has added another unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) to its unmanned aerial systems (UAS) research team. The Golden Eagle II (GE2), originally designed to be a teaching tool, will begin its life as a research aircraft this summer.
Clarkson University is part of the Northeast UAS Airspace Integration Research Alliance, a regional partnership of private industry, academic institutions, and military assets and operations that worked together to garner a UAS test site designation at Griffiss International Airport from the Federal Aviation Administration.
According to the university, the GE2 project began as upgraded components for its predecessor, the Golden Eagle I (GE1). Primarily designed, analyzed and constructed by undergraduate students, Clarkson says the value of the GE1 as a teaching aid has exceeded expectations.
The university reports that during the design of the GE2, the digital version of GE1, created with X-Plane version 10, was used. By improving the fidelity of the X-Plane model, the GE1's flight model performance was matched to recorded aircraft performance data. Further improvements were made to enhance the flight characteristics of the GE1, which led to the GE2.
The new aircraft was designed to be an improvement across the board over the GE1, Clarkson notes. It can carry nearly twice the payload, has a higher cruise speed and is predicted to be more stable. The university adds that the improvements were done while maintaining the same weight as the GE1.
Field testing is expected to begin this summer. Upcoming projects include measuring environmental conditions and mapping turbulence above a small Adirondack lake, surveying the Long Island Sound ecosystem to support its environmental management, and mapping ice thickness in the Arctic.
‘We will be able to further explore the potentials of using our UAS for research and will provide support for the commercial development of technologies from sense and avoid to command and control, helping the safe integration of UAS into the complex air traffic systems and the development of a variety of scientific payload,’ comments Pier Marzocca, a professor in Clarkson's department of mechanical and aeronautical engineering and UAS mission commander.