March 19, 2014, by Michele Garibaldi

The Flight of The ‘Chaser’

After 3 months of painstaking work, the INNOVATE team has successfully flown the first of our two unmanned aerial systems (UAS) for the first time. ‘Chaser’ (the name of the INNOVATE UAS) is a fixed-wing, 220 cm wingspan aircraft designed to fly and perform payload delivery missions autonomously.


Valerio and Andrea with ‘Chaser’ on their way to the Colwick Racecourse

”I was about to call you this morning, to tell you not to come“explains Tom, our ‘flight instructor’ and secretary of the Trent Radio Control Model Flying Club, as he sees us entering the field. It was a cold, wet day at Colwick Racecourse, and the flight was almost cancelled as a result of the thick fog which enveloped the field. ‘Chaser’ had already seen its inaugural flight put off the previous weekend, when strong winds (and a few ‘minor’ technical problems) prevented the team from celebrating their first milestone. But this time it was a different story, and after fifteen minutes of preparation, which included the mounting of the wings, the connection of the electronics, and the tightening of a few loose bolts, ‘Chaser’ took off in front of a small crowd of supporting aero modelling hobbyists and enthusiasts. A video of Chaser’s performance as seen from the ground station can be viewed here.


Two INNOVATE members, Simone and Andrea, readying ‘Chaser’ for the flight


The flight was performed in radio-control (manual) mode and was an opportunity for the team to check that ‘Chaser’ satisfies some of the requirements imposed by the Institute of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE), such as aircraft stability at take-off and landing, maximum runway length, and minimum time-of-flight.


Tom ready to make Chaser fly for the first time

Tom ready to make Chaser fly for the first time


And there’s much more to come, as by the end of this week the team’s rotary-wing UAS, whose name hasn’t been unveiled by the team yet, will also take-off for the first time!




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