EMI plans to introduce aircraft drone tests

    Pwet Habr! I bring to your attention a translation of the article " Assessing the danger of drone strike: unique test bench to measure collision impact ".

    UAVs are rapidly gaining popularity around the world. Along with this, the number of incidents involving them is growing. In 2017, in Canada, a passenger plane, landing, collided with a drone, but the disaster was avoided. In the production of aircraft tested for bird resistance, these procedures are required. Tests with drones are not yet carried out. The Fraunhofer Institute for the Dynamics of Fast Flowing Processes (Ernst Mach Institute) (EMI) wants to figure out how drones are dangerous for airplanes and how they will behave in different situations. A test bench will be developed for this.

    In recent years, drones are increasingly becoming an obstacle to air transport. In 2018, 158 such cases were registered at German airports. The federal police issued a public statement that unmanned aerial vehicles pose a serious threat. In early May of this year, Frankfurt Airport was forced to temporarily suspend operations due to a drone. It is estimated that the total number of drones in circulation in Germany will increase to 847,000 units by 2030, an increase of almost 80%. Unmanned aerial vehicles pose a threat not only to landing aircraft, but also to helicopters at low altitude. Pilots fear that drones may crash into the windshield, touch the engine or wing sock. Experts agree that drones are capable of causing more serious damage than birds. Planes are allowed to fly only if they have been tested for bird resistance. In the case of drones, no tests are carried out. Researchers at the Freiburg Institute of Fraunhofer EMI plan to make a difference. “From the point of view of aeromechanics, a drone is very different from a bird in both behavior and weight.” - explains the doctor of science, Sebastian Shoppherer, a project participant. “Therefore, it is unclear whether the aircraft will be able to repulse just as successfully from the drone as from the birds.”

    Michael May
    Use of drones near helicopters is prohibited

    Great security risk

    The first shock tests only confirmed the danger of batteries and UAV engines. “Using compressed air, we were able to start the battery and engine at a speed of 115 to 255 m / s in an aluminum plate, 8 mm thick,” continues Shoppherer. Due to their mass, both components are capable of causing serious damage. “The result of the test was a significant deformation and dents on the plate, and the battery and engine themselves were scattered into pieces.” The experiment was recorded on a high-speed video camera.

    Fraunhofer EMI
    Standard lithium-ion battery (approximately 700g) for the
    Fraunhofer EMI drone This is how the battery looks after meeting with an aluminum plate


    The main task of the tests is to determine the driving force at the moment of collision with the aforementioned components of the drone and calculate the damage for aircraft materials such as aluminum alloys and fiber composite material. In addition, the researchers conducted several tests under quasistatic pressure to determine the strength and flexibility of the drone components. Test results will help in building the required number of simulation models for the aviation industry. Simulation models will provide an opportunity to assess the resistance of new materials to the impacts of drones.

    Challenges with Full-Size Drones

    For the most realistic simulations, researchers are going to construct a new stand for testing entire drones weighing no more than 3 kg and a speed of not more than 150 m / s. “We can study the extent of damage to both the objects themselves and the drones. We can test both flexible and inflexible objects. In the end, most likely, make sure that drones can lead to disaster. No one has ever conducted experiments with such heavy drones. ”Both amateur and semi-professional UAVs weighing 1-3 kg will test. These studies will help aircraft manufacturers and regulatory authorities more accurately assess the potential threat of a particular drone to air transport.

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