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Tailsitter Drone Aircraft For SAR

MIT researchers create tailsitter drone aircraft usable in search-and-rescue missions requiring unique maneuvers.

A tailsitter is a fixed-wing aircraft that takes off and lands vertically (it sits on its tail on the landing pad), and then tilts horizontally for forward flight. Faster and more efficient than quadcopter drones, these versatile aircraft can fly over a large area like an airplane but also hover like a helicopter, making them well-suited for tasks like search-and-rescue or parcel delivery.

MIT researchers have developed new algorithms for trajectory planning and control of a tailsitter that take advantage of the maneuverability and versatility of this type of aircraft. Their algorithms can execute challenging maneuvers, like sideways or upside-down flight, and are so computationally efficient that they can plan complex trajectories in real-time.


(Tailsitter acrobatics)

R.H. Romans wrote about an amazing, and oddly similar, electric plane with two little nodes on the front and the back that could not only fly as a traditional plane but could hover in place, in his 1929 story Around the World in 24 Hours:


(Around the World in 24 Hours)

The weight of the car is regulated by the same method. The small spheres under the car produce a high pressure area while others above produce a low. When the proper electrical current passes through the spheres, the upward pressure against the car is exactly balanced by the force of gravity acting on the car, which becomes apparently weightless. But the wind would blow the weightless car away if other precautions were not taken. The rudder now acts as a weather vane and the nose of the ship is pointed windward. The ship is pointed toward the wind with a velocity exactly equal to that of the wind itself. I still have one hand on the control knob and as the velocity of the wind is seldom constant, I find it necessary to increase or decrease the power.

"That explains how it was so easy for me to remain motionless in midair or to perch on a flagpole in imitation of a giant bird, even in the windy city of Chicago."
(Read more about the Atmospheric Pressure Control Plane)

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