Certification of Vertical Take Off Vehicle

HomeBuiltAirplanes.com

Help Support HomeBuiltAirplanes.com:

Wayne

Well-Known Member
HBA Supporter
Log Member
Joined
Jan 14, 2013
Messages
470
Location
Chicago, IL
Folks -
One of the young ladies who came up through my EAA Chapter, and who used to hang out at the maintenance shop here on the weekends, has gone to a major university to pursue Aeronautical Engineering. I'm super proud of her because she liked being "hands on" as she felt it would help her design equipment that people could actually "work on" versus being beautifully engineered but not practical....

As an early project she and her team are working on building a vehicle that will weigh about 210 pounds when completed, and is a prototype for a man carrying vehicle, but won't carry humans as it is a concept at this time.

She asked me how they would go about registering such a vehicle and that's where I got stuck. My first thought was that it would be an ultralight, but since it's not carrying people that means it would probably fall into the "drone" category. That means it would need to be registered with the FAA as a drone since it is over 55 pounds. Is that all we are talking about here, or perhaps I'm missing something obvious?

Thanks for any insight.

Wayne
 
Last edited:

don january

Well-Known Member
Log Member
Joined
Feb 10, 2015
Messages
3,038
Location
Midwest
Wayne. I would think that no certification would be needed in the prototype much like a RC aircraft or drone but I would say to test flight on private property only and when craft is developed further for maned flight then they will have a better idea in certification type.
 

BBerson

Light Plane Philosopher
HBA Supporter
Joined
Dec 16, 2007
Messages
14,773
Location
Port Townsend WA
Thanks for any insight.
It is a UAS (unmanned aerial system).
For that weight the rules are not complete yet, as far as I know.
Very difficult, I think. Major companies are doing experimenting, mostly in other countries.
 

Dana

Super Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Apr 3, 2007
Messages
9,790
Location
CT, USA
If it weighs under 254# and carries a person, it's an ultralight. If you're just doing low level hover tests prior to putting a person on board, tether it to the ground with a long rope and it it's not an aircraft or a UAS. I think Moller used that dodge, except his tether was hanging from a crane to keep his dream from smashing against the ground.
 

Tiger Tim

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 26, 2013
Messages
3,664
Location
Thunder Bay
Has the FAA been contacted about it yet? That’s where I’d start since there’s a lot of new regulatory ground to be covered here. Plus, we’re not talking about a background maverick project but an undertaking at a major university so cooperating from the start with the FAA is not only a good experience for the team but also an excellent PR opportunity for the school.
 

pwood66889

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 10, 2007
Messages
1,860
Location
Sopchoppy, Florida, USA
I would tell the young lady (crummy term in today's world...) that it is no longer "easier to get forgiven than to get permission." Tell her to do what can be done "under the radar." Like fly it indoors! When her team has progressed to truly needing a bigger sandbox, then they can revisit registration when they know better what they really have, and where they are going.
Agreed, she may be with "a major university," but right now it is strictly "Skonk works."
My $0.02
 

Wayne

Well-Known Member
HBA Supporter
Log Member
Joined
Jan 14, 2013
Messages
470
Location
Chicago, IL
OK excellent points folks and I will relay them all. I do think that they need to determine true scope of the project - as one poster mentioned. I don't want to smother any innovation with over regulation but do acknowledge this needs to be handled properly and will convey that.
 

Mohawk750

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 1, 2021
Messages
112
Location
Ottawa, Ontario
Look up FAA Part 107 UAV rules. Contact the FAA and ask for information on university development of prototype UAV platforms. There are several University affiliated FAA approved drone/UAV test sites in the US.


UAV's in certain weight classes must be registered and flown by a UAV licensed pilot. The barrier to entry is low at this point. There is lots of information available and these things need to be flown safely by competant people so the rest of us up there don't have a close encounter!
 

BBerson

Light Plane Philosopher
HBA Supporter
Joined
Dec 16, 2007
Messages
14,773
Location
Port Townsend WA
The Vertical Flight Society (formerly Helicopter Society) covers this VTOL topic.
Sign up for free electric VTOL newsletters here: Home
 

Jstorrshall

Member
Joined
Sep 3, 2013
Messages
21
Location
Melfa, VA USA
EAA SportAviation mag for January 2021 pp 76-77: Bitar's Verticycle is certificated as a Part 61 UAS but filed under a special exemption and got an N-number, N110VC, and is able to fly it without a powered lift rating. The whole GoFly article pp73-80 is worth reading.
 

Urquiola

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 23, 2013
Messages
192
Location
Madrid, Spain
If it weighs under 254# and carries a person, it's an ultralight. If you're just doing low level hover tests prior to putting a person on board, tether it to the ground with a long rope and it it's not an aircraft or a UAS. I think Moeller used that dodge, except his tether was hanging from a crane to keep his dream from smashing against the ground.
There is an obvious discredit campaign against mr Möller, similar to those saying 'infamous' about mr Paul Lamar of rotaryeng.net, or to Horten Ho-IX/ Gotha Go-229.
The rope in top his flying saucer, which antecedes in years the quadcopters, probably control software is same, was an imposition of FAA, the wording in comment was a bit in the line of suggesting crash was a probable outcome.

I'd say the main defect of Moeller project may be using his OMC Wankel, he has several Wankel engines of his own, his proprietary rotor surface coating helps reducing emissions, HC are in inverse connection to rotor surface temperature, the hotter the rotor surface, the less HC in exhaust, his machines would probably work better using RCEs as power to produce electricity, moving fans with electric motors, but when his project started, long ago, technology of electric engines and batteries, one is needed at least as buffer in hybrid machines, was not as good as today.
There was an Itzak Rabin working with Moeller, a known name, one of them was killed by an extremist, accusing him of anti-Israel activities.
Blessings +
 

Dusan

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 15, 2014
Messages
133
Location
Canada
Folks -
One of the young ladies who came up through my EAA Chapter, and who used to hang out at the maintenance shop here on the weekends, has gone to a major university to pursue Aeronautical Engineering. I'm super proud of her because she liked being "hands on" as she felt it would help her design equipment that people could actually "work on" versus being beautifully engineered but not practical....

As an early project she and her team are working on building a vehicle that will weigh about 210 pounds when completed, and is a prototype for a man carrying vehicle, but won't carry humans as it is a concept at this time.

She asked me how they would go about registering such a vehicle and that's where I got stuck. My first thought was that it would be an ultralight, but since it's not carrying people that means it would probably fall into the "drone" category. That means it would need to be registered with the FAA as a drone since it is over 55 pounds. Is that all we are talking about here, or perhaps I'm missing something obvious?

Thanks for any insight.

Wayne
Hi Wayne, let her contact me, I'm also doing a lot of work in the VTOL space.
 

Wayne

Well-Known Member
HBA Supporter
Log Member
Joined
Jan 14, 2013
Messages
470
Location
Chicago, IL
Hi Wayne, let her contact me, I'm also doing a lot of work in the VTOL space.
PM Sent Dusan, she and the project manager are looking forward to connecting. Thanks to you, and everyone, for assisting these youngsters!
 

Urquiola

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 23, 2013
Messages
192
Location
Madrid, Spain
This is the VTOL Electric Airplane I like most
but would prefer testing also a version of Custer Channel Wing with electric engines, a Wankel or turbine generator inside fuselage, with small battery as buffer, for high power requirements: take-off, climbing, and safety measure, the CCW concept pat US 2721045; US2514478;Antonov 'Izdelie'.jpg perhaps may apply to the duct in Stipa barrel airplane, low half of tube with airfoil shape, to provide lift, upper side straight.
The patent US1609978, by Wagner, counter-propeller, full disc, after propeller in Channel Wing, with different positions of propeller in channel, leading edge, thickest airfoil part, original CCW had propeller in trailing edge, full size model tested at Langley Wind Tunnel had electric engines, at least it may be silent, have better engine stop gliding properties than some electric canards proposed. Does it?
Thanks. Blessings +
 

Pilot-34

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 7, 2020
Messages
875
To me it seems like the channeling works by accelerating the air over the top of the wing that’s creating a low pressure zone.
What would happen if you put a series of propellers like shown in the video just above the wing so your foot apart a whole bunch of 1 foot propellers? Perhaps 2 foot propellers I’m sure there’s a magic number in there somewhere.
 

Dusan

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 15, 2014
Messages
133
Location
Canada
This is the VTOL Electric Airplane I like most ...
The channel wing is not really good for VTOL flight. Custer invented it as he wanted a wing that is not capable of stalling. The NACA's 1953 test (Langley Full-Scale-Tunnel Tests of the Custer Channel Wing Airplane. National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, 1953) shows that about 8% lift is due to the wings in hover mode, but the aircraft does not have any controls in hover, and catastrophic loss of lift when losing an engine.

HopFlyt is working on a VTOL channel wing prototype/concept.

The idea has a lot of merit, the conventional wing is just dead weight in hover, and having anything that augments the rotor hover lift could be really a game changer. The biggest VTOL "conundrum" is conflicting requirements for the driving parameters of cruise and hovering performance: L/D drives the performance in wing-borne cruise and that means large aspect ratio wings, low wetted area and small propeller size. Disk loading and no flow interference drives the hovering performance and that means large rotors and no wings.

Having a wing to augment rotor lift, means that the rotor size can be smaller without a hover performance penalty, and a smaller rotor improves a lot the wing-borne cruise performance.

I did some studies on the channel wing, the problem is at slow speeds/hover the rotor flow intake has a lot of convergence (it comes from all direction radially towards the rotor), the wing orientation does not cope well with it, leading to flow separation on portions of wing's surface. The channel wing is also oriented such that the wing lift is mostly perpendicular to the rotor lift, and that is not really that much helpful (vector force addition). Based on these studies, I derived a wing concept, capable of providing much more lift augmentation in hover, and adapts to the change of inflow convergence. The positive experimental scale results lead me to develop the wing further into several concept aircraft models, see them here: Aliptera
 
Top