Facebook drone "Aquila" makes it possible for you to communicate online anywhere in the world Succeeded in the second flight test

In order to enable communication even in remote areas of the world where Internet connection can not be done, Facebook is a drone "flying Wi-Fi station" in 2015 "AquilaWe announced. Facebook has announced that Aquila succeeded in the second flight test using actual equipment.

Aquila's successful second flight: Another step forward in bringing the world closer together | Engineering Blog | Facebook Code | Facebook

Aquila has a wing with a wing tip length of about 42 m, which is wider than a small passenger plane "Boeing 737 aircraft", and it is a drone that can continue to fly while generating electricity with solar panels spread over the wings. About Aquila announced by Facebook in July 2015 can be read from the following article.

Facebook announces drone "Aquila" enabling flying in sunlight to connect to remote areas - GIGAZINE

And in July 2016, I succeeded in the first flight. The test flight was carried out at a secret test site in the state of Nevada in the United States in the early June of June 28.

The factory of Wi-Fi drone "Aquila" which Facebook delivers the net to the world finally succeeded for the first flight finally - GIGAZINE

According to the latest announcement, Facebook has succeeded in the second flight test of Aquila done on full scale on May 22, 2017. The flight time was 1 hour 46 minutes and he said he could take off and landing perfectly.

After doing the first flight test done in 2016, Aquila has come up with many points to be improved. In this flight test, "By adding a spoiler to the main wing, to increase air resistance at the time of landing, decelerate it, reduce lift and let it land smoothly" "Hundreds of sensors to collect new data "Installing a new wireless device for the communication subsystem" "To make the finishing of the aircraft smoother" "To attach a horizontal axis propeller to make landing more successful" Flight was carried out with improved such as.

This is Aquila in flight.

Looking from behind like this. It is a full wing aircraft with no extra fuselage.

The state of the second flight can be confirmed from the following movie.

Aquila Second Flight 2017 - YouTube

Since Aquila fly at the same place and delivers internet communication to the people on the ground, it is not a speed demand like an airliner. For this reason, emphasis is placed on efficient flight using solar energy, and after takeoff, it slowly rises at 10 to 15 miles per hour (16 to 24 km).

Propeller on the front of the aircraft.

The purpose of this test is to gather data mainly. In order to optimize the size of the battery and the solar cell, it is essential to know how energy is used, and for that reason it has been tested focusing on constant speed, course and altitude . Also, in order to know in real time how Aquila is changing the form of flight, various sensors are installed. In addition, it was confirmed how the movement changes with the newly installed spoiler, and how the state of wireless communication changes depending on the angle was confirmed.

Looking from the side like this.

The end of the movie is the landing scene.

Basically, it is Aquila which fly autonomously, but it is also possible to perform a landing manually for reasons such as when the wind is strong. Before landing, the crew will upload a plan that allows for landing in the windward direction, taking the wind direction into account.

Also, the newly installed spoiler works with autopilot. If you sense that the aircraft is in a higher position than the glide slope (approach to the runway), it will open the spoiler and decelerate. Conversely, if it is lower than the glide slope, close the spoiler and keep the speed, Automatically control the aircraft so that it fits the desired altitude.

A few seconds before the landing, the autopilot was rotating the propeller on the front of the aircraft ... ...

It will be locked in such a way as to be transverse to the ground. This is a mechanism to prevent the propeller from being damaged, but it was said that only one propeller was locked on this flight.

Landing in a circle with a diameter of 152 meters with gravel spread to a thickness of about 15 cm. When landing, the aircraft gently touches the ground and stops moving about 10 meters from there.

The sound that the car ran over the gravel sounded a bit, but Aquila made a perfect landing, Facebook.

Aquila does not have a landing gear (landing gear) such as a tire used by a typical aircraft because Aquila lands at a very slow speed. This is to reduce the weight of the aircraft by omitting the landing gear and to reduce the air resistance caused when the pedestal is expanded. In addition, when landing laid sandKevlarAt this time, the heaviest motor in the fuselage is designed to be in contact with the ground at the very beginning, so after the landing of the motor it places a heavy burden on the structure of the aircraft It is possible to stop moving without it.

in Hardware,   Video, Posted by logq_fa