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RESEARCH

The Raspet Flight Research Laboratory offers faculty, staff, students, industry, and government agencies a facility with experience and capability for composite fabrication, structural testing, hardware/software integration, UAV engine performance testing, in-flight sensor evaluation, and flight test instrumentation and test assistance.

 

Our ground test vehicle has a long history with us here at the RASPET Lab. Built on the chassis of a 54 Buick Roadmaster convertible, the GTV has served as the test bed of numerous experiments and masters theses over the years. Our GTV allows us to collect data without the expense of a full-up wind tunnel or the risk and logistics of a manned or remotely operated flight test. The test platform can be equipped with an array of pressure transducers, strain gauges, load cells, and data acquisition systems depending on test requirements.

 

This test bench is used to check the flight computer and control servos on the Ultra-Light Sensor Platform (ULSP) Owl aircraft to insure correct operation before they are installed in the aircraft. A six degree-of-freedom simulation of the aircraft flies a simulated mission, with the simulation providing IMU and GPS output to the flight computer. The flight computer then uses the IMU and GPS data, along with the desired flight plan, to drive the control servos to move the aircraft flight controls. This test verifies proper hardware operation prior to flight testing.

 

 

RASPET’s engine test cell is capable of testing and diagnosing a variety of UAV and ultra-light aircraft engines. Our dynamometer and data acquisition setup allows us to perform engine performance, fuel consumption, and break-in tests on small to mid-sized aircraft engines. Our custom built stand is easily adaptable to account for engines with different configurations and mounting requirements.

 

 

 

 

A student conducts a frequency sweep of the ULSP Owl aircraft wing to determine the natural frequencies and shapes of the carbon fiber structure. Accelerometers are mounted on the wing to measure the acceleration at each point as the base of the wing is shaken at various frequencies. The response of the accelerometers shows how the wing responds to external excitation and provides information on stress levels and flutter speeds. The data is also used to verify the finite-element model that theoretically predicts these values.