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Reduction of Structural Mass Fraction for Extreme Solar HALE Flying Wings

Award Information

Department of Defense
Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency
Award ID:
Program Year/Program:
2007 / SBIR
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
Solicitation Topic Code:
Solicitation Number:
Small Business Information
Aurora Flight Sciences Corporation
4 Cambridge Center 11th Floor Cambridge, MA 02142-1494
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Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No
Phase 1
Fiscal Year: 2007
Title: Reduction of Structural Mass Fraction for Extreme Solar HALE Flying Wings
Agency / Branch: DOD / DARPA
Contract: W31P4Q-07-C-0296
Award Amount: $98,996.00


Extreme HALE (high-altitude, long-endurance) aircraft typically require very long and thin wings. These super-lightweight wings tend to be highly susceptible to elastic instability (i.e., buckling). The maximum load such wings can sustain before buckling is generally much lower than the maximum load they can experience before yielding. Furthermore, for the critical high-altitude portion of a mission, the gust loads are very small, and the characteristic dimension of the gusts is large compared to a HALE aircraft. However, during ascent and descent, the aircraft must handle much stronger gusts as well as gusts that may be small compared to the aircraft wingspan. Designing for these peak gust loads can substantially increase an aircraft's structural mass fraction. The goal of this proposed effort is to use inflatable technology to either provide a temporary increase in strength to a flying-wing aircraft that is structurally optimized for the low loads of high-altitude flight, or, alternately, to allow the structure to deliberately buckle and self-recover when it encounters a wind gust. Aurora Flight Sciences, teamed with Vertigo, Inc., proposes to develop wing structures suitable to HALE flying wings that use inflatable components to achieve this goal with no degradation in aircraft performance or reliability.

Principal Investigator:

Joel Pedlikin
Program Manager

Business Contact:

Diana Eichfeld
Contracts Manager
Small Business Information at Submission:

9950 Wakeman Drive Manassas, VA 20110

EIN/Tax ID: 541502935
Number of Employees:
Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No