A Design For A High Altitude Flight Test System
Wahlers, Kristen Erin
Small UAV?s and flight vehicles in other atmospheres such as Mars are characterized by low Reynolds numbers. Low Reynolds number airfoil testing has been difficult to achieve and there are few centers that can accomplish this task. This study is an effort to develop a flight test system that will enable low Reynolds number tests to be performed with a simple glider design. The concept is to develop a high altitude glider that will be transported to altitudes reaching 100,000 feet or more by a helium filled balloon. At altitude, the glider will be released and will perform flight experiments as it descends. This region of Earth?s atmosphere, ?near space? has the conditions desired for low Reynolds number testing as well as similar properties to the surface of Mars. With the knowledge gained from this experiment, a better understanding of accomplishing flight on Mars may be attained.