DESIGN OF AN UNMANNED VEHICLE FOR LAUNCHING SAILPLANES (FEASIBILITY STUDY)
AbstractThe advent of the GPS (Global Positioning System) has caused a revolution both in aviation and non-aviation navigation. A GPS bought for domestic use relays position with much better accuracy and is more reliable than a million dollar INS (Inertial Navigation System) or IRS (Inertial Reference System) used by airliners. Few, though are aware that the GPS is causing a revolution in the guidance of vehicles as well. Remotely controlled vehicles such as target drones and missiles in the past used Inertial Guidance systems mounted on very expensive high speed gyroscopes. The advent of technology has made it far more cost effective to replace them with a Differential GPS mounted on Ring Laser gyroscopes using solid state circuits with no moving parts (Texas Instruments bought such equipment recently from vendors such as Honeywell). The cost of such gyroscopes is plummeting every day. This improvement in technology inspired me to design the airplane which I present in this article. Its sole mission is to function as a launch vehicle for sailplanes. Piloting the airplane remotely by ground operators makes it extremely cost effective due to the considerable weight shaved off by the absence of a tow pilot as well as equipment required for the accommodation of occupants in the airplane.
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