Full scale component level testing & severity analysis of phantom 3 UAV to Cessna 182b aircraft collisions
Hayes, Benjamin Woodruff
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Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) are more attainable now than ever before. With uses ranging from re-forestation, agriculture, film-making, and recreation; a significant amount of airspace is being occupied by UAS. To better understand the risks posed by UAS to other aircraft, the Alliance for System Safety of UAS through Research Excellence (ASSURE) was created. One aspect of ASSURE's agenda is to conduct air to air collision studies using Finite Element Analysis (FEA) in combination with full scale collision data. Montana State University contracted with ASSURE to conduct component level testing for the project, and provide data for validating FEA models being developed at the National Institute of Aviation Research (NIAR). Component level testing consisted of the following aircraft components: Cessna 182B struts, wings, and windscreens. In order to accurately simulate in-flight geometry, fixtures were custom fabricated to individually mount aircraft components. High velocity impact data was collected via load cells, high speed video, and Digital Image Correlation (DIC). A drone launching system developed during an MSU conducted research effort was used to launch Phantom 3 quadcopter UAVs as projectiles for component level tests. For all tests, the impact was captured from two viewpoints using high speed video, and reaction force data was collected using load cells at critical attachment points. For wing and windscreen testing, 2-D DIC and 3-D DIC were used respectively to capture displacements during the collision. Testing showed that struts received mainly superficial damage, but that both wings and windscreens exhibited the potential for catastrophic failure.