Less than a year ago, The Phoenix members set off to build a mid-range unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). The first (fall?) semester was spent idealizing the project and planning on realization of the concept. During the spring semester, the team has worked on fully defining the aircraft structure and building a working model.

The largest concerns have been achieving actual flight and keeping the designed performance characteristics. They have already been conducting short test flights with their UAV. The team is currently adding additional components to their UAV such as the ADS-B communication system which will allow for a long range of communication predicted at 40 nautical miles, well out of visual sight.

Capable of performing 3 G maneuvers, the aircraft is powered by a 40cc gasoline engine which drives a 20 inch diameter propeller. The gas engine provides convenience in many different aspects. The UAV is capable of taking off on a typical RC runway, much shorter than the space needed for typical aircraft of similar size.

By using gas instead of electric power, the endurance life is extended to one hour run time (so how much did it start with?) while keeping weight down to a minimum. Since gasoline is available at almost any street corner, the fuel for the aircraft is easily obtainable. It makes civilian use, as well as military use, practical almost anywhere in the world.

All of this was achieved right on schedule and under budget. The team agreed that the hardest part has been integrating and realizing the product. Getting everything to work together has been well worth the effort for The Phoenix. The team would also like to thank Tower Hobbies for their generous donation of various parts needed to control the aircraft.


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