UMd.’s Wind Tunnel To Test Unmanned Aircraft

COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) — The University of Maryland’s wind tunnel will be used to test the propulsion system for an unmanned aircraft that takes off vertically and then shifts to horizontal flight.

Jessup-based American Dynamics Flight Systems’ AD-150 is one of the few unmanned vehicles that can take off vertically and travel like an airplane at speeds of about 240 miles per hour. The aircraft being developed for the U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps can carry weaponry, an array of sensors or wounded soldiers with its 500-pound payload.

During Thursday’s tests, the wind tunnel’s large turbine will blow high-speed wind over the propulsion system while sensors measure forces and movements that can be used to predict flight behavior.

A $135,000 Maryland Industrial Partnerships program grant pays for the test. More tests are planned over the next four months.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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