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Unmanned Aircraft System Flight Test Approach Supporting the Development of Regulatory Recommendations for Integration with the National Airspace System  (2022)
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The National Aeronautics and Space Administration Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration in the National Airspace System Project performed research that was critical to developing minimum operational performance standards for systems that will enable unmanned aircraft systems to routinely access the National Airspace System. As part of this research effort the project conducted a series of flight tests that validated several technologies and procedures which were key to developing the minimum operational performance standards, which will in turn guide industry in certifying unmanned aircraft systems. Flight Test Series 3 and Series 4 focused on unmanned aircraft systems operations using larger vehicles, with performance characteristics similar to transport category manned aircraft, transitioning through Class E airspace. The Flight Test 3 and Flight Test 4 efforts utilized the NASA Ikhana unmanned aircraft system, a civilianized General Atomics - Aeronautical Systems Inc. (San Diego, California, U.S.A.) MQ-9 Predator/Reaper, outfitted with a General Atomics developed detect and avoid systemthat included an air-to-air radar providing non-cooperative sensing capability to validate the detect and avoid algorithms and separation criteria. These flight tests also enabled the development and testing of a test architecture and infrastructure needed for subsequent flight tests.

The flight test series conducted by the Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration in the National Airspace System Project culminated with the Flight Test 6 effort that used a Navmar Applied Sciences Corporation (Warminster, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.) TigerShark XP unmanned aircraft system to investigate low cost, size, weight, and power operations in the National Airspace System. The Flight Test 6 effort incorporated lessons learned from all the earlier flight-test activities, including Flight Test 3 and Flight Test 4, and implemented a "full mission" simulation of low cost, size, weight, and power unmanned aircraft systems operations in a representative airspace environment. The full mission simulation allowed a number of metrics to be collected that were valuable to the minimum operational performance standards development process, including human response times, performance in remaining well-clear of aircraft, and the acceptability of the complete unmanned aircraft system. To create a representative airspace environment, the NASA live virtual constructive distributed environment was utilized to combine multiple assets from across NASA into a single, coherent simulation.
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Aircraft, Airspace, Flight, Integration, NAS, National, Recommendations, Regulatory, System, System, Test, UAS, Unmanned
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In Systems Concepts and Integration (SCI-328) Panel Symposium on Flight Testing of Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS), Segovia, Spain
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Adobe PDF Icon  SCI328_UASNASFlightTest.pdf (Download Acrobat Reader Click to download Adobe Acrabat Reader)
  (732KB) (application/pdf)
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Curator: Phil So
NASA Official: Jessica Nowinski
Last Updated: August 15, 2019