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Fielding an amphibious UAV: development, results, and lessons learned

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2 Author(s)
G. Pisanich ; QSS Group Inc., NASA Ames Res. Center, Moffett Field, CA, USA ; S. Morris

This report summarizes the work completed on the design and flight-testing of a small, unmanned, amphibious demonstrator aircraft that flies autonomously. The aircraft named ACAT (autonomous cargo amphibious transport) is intended to be a large cargo carrying unmanned aircraft that operates from water to avoid airspace and airfield conflict issues between manned and unmanned aircraft. To demonstrate the feasibility of this concept, a demonstrator ACAT was designed, built, and flown that has a six-foot wingspan and can fly autonomously from land or water airfield. The demonstrator was designed for a 1-hour duration and 1-mile telemetry range. A sizing code was used to design the smallest demonstrator UAV to achieve these goals. Initial flight tests from land and water were conducted under manual radio control and confirmed the amphibious capability of the design. Flight avionics that were developed by MLB for production UAVs were installed in the ACAT demonstrator. The flight software was also enhanced to permit autonomous takeoff and landing from water.

Published in:

Digital Avionics Systems Conference, 2002. Proceedings. The 21st  (Volume:2 )

Date of Conference: