And Texas A&M Test The RS-16 Recon Unmanned Aircraft
By Eddy Metcalf
October 28, 2011 - American Aerospace and Texas A&M
University, Corpus Christi have successfully completed
their first airborne science mission using unmanned
aircraft over the Gulf of Mexico.
Under a Certificate of Authorization (COA) issued by the
Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), a Recon System 16
Unmanned Aircraft System completed six flights
originating on a remote stretch of beach on the Padre
Island National Seashore.
The announcement was made by David Yoel, CEO of American
Aerospace Advisors, Inc. (AAAI), whose Airborne Systems
Group developed the RS-16.
RS-16 Unmanned Aircraft System utilizes 13-foot wingspan
unmanned aircraft that can stay aloft for up to 12 to 16 hours
on less than two gallons of gasoline. Linked to the RS-16 Mobile
Command Center, the system produces and disseminates real-time
streaming video on map, infrared video, and high resolution
imagery. It also accommodates a variety of science payloads and
can relay communications between widely dispersed ground radios.
approved by the FAA allows operations over a 500 square mile
area south of Corpus Christi, Texas. It reaches several miles
into the Gulf of Mexico, and covers a 39-mile stretch of the
Padre Island National Seashore ? as well as a substantial
portion of the Laguna Madre intercoastal waterway.
capability directly benefits the program in geospatial computing
and significantly advances the University?s competitiveness for
federally-funded research,? said Dr. Stacey Lyle, director of
the Texas A&M UAS initiative. ?In addition, this capability
enables the University to serve as a leader in UAS technology
training and education at both the state and national level.?
Commenting on the program, Mr. Yoel stated, ?Unmanned aircraft have the potential to revolutionize airborne science. We are extremely pleased that Texas A&M University - Corpus Christi selected the Recon System 16 for this program, and that the FAA approved operations over such a large and unique region.?
Mr. Yoel added,
?American Aerospace developed the Recon System 16 for civil and
scientific missions. The RS-16 is a completely self-contained mobile
system that includes aircraft, payloads, a mobile command center, ground
support equipment, tools and spares. The RS-16 was created to
cost-effectively perform civil missions, and our outstanding team of
operations professionals developed the procedures and processes to
safely and effectively deliver the required results in full compliance
with FAA Regulations.?
Dr. L.D. Chen, Director of the School of Engineering and Computing, added, ?The UAS capability provides an excellent opportunity for students, faculty, and staff to pursue interdisciplinary research in areas of science that are important to our region.?
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