AIAA 23rd LTA Technology Conference
The 23rd LTA Technology Conference occupied two days of the week-long AIAA AITO at the Sheraton Denver Downtown Hotel, June 5-9, 2017. LTA shared the Savoy and Vail rooms with the Scientific Balloon and Decelerator Systems presentations.
The producer acted as session chair for 255-LTA-03, LTA Engineering & Design, which included the following paper/presentations whose reference numbers all begin with AIAA-2017- :
3992: Several Concerns of Advanced Airships for Thrust Vectoring Application on Dynamic Study, by X. Zhang, H.Liang, and X. Guo of Beihang Univ. Beijing. The very math-intensive study was presented by Xiayang Zhang, who’d traveled from China.
3993: Development of Flight Mode Algorithms for Tethered Airships, by S. Stevanovic; J.S. Santos; K. Kondak; L.C. Goes; and R.S. Pant. This graphic rich program was presented by Jonatas Santos, who’d arrived from Brazil.
3994: Design and Fabrication of a Winch for Aerostat, by H. Shah; B. Katare; V. Rane; U. Chawda; B. Sonawane; R.S. Pant. The presentation was loaded with photos of the students’ hand built winch and a video of it pulling in a test concrete block.
3996: Design and Development of an Indoor Autonomous Airship, by M. Biju; R.S. Pant. Both this excellent paper and 3994 were presented By Nimesh Singhal, who’d come in from TUM Asia in Singapore.
3995: An Elevated Balloon-Kite Hybrid Platform for Surveillance, by C.R. Dusane; A.V. Wani; R.S. Pant; D. Chakraborty; B. Chakravarthy. This presentation, which illustrated the team’s construction and test results, was given by Sushilkumar Kerimani, who had traveled from India. The hybrid, tethered craft went through several full scale design evolutions.
That afternoon the concurrent “Demand for Unmanned” sessions otherwise dominated by the majority HTA attendees turned attention to the “UAS Carrier Airship” panel discussion. Moderator (and LTA TC Vice-Chair) Ron Hochstetler of SAIC asked the producer to play Act Three of his DVD The Flying Carriers which gave the assembly a “reality check,” where the state of the flying carrier art had reached in 1935.
The large assembly then listened to a presentation by Michael O’Neal, Director, Modeling & Simulation of MARCORSYSCOM, who called for solutions to vexing, deadly battlefield resupply problems. Following was Professor Oleg A. Yakimenko of the USN Postgraduate School, who showed the extensive research conducted with UAVs by the school. The Q & A session followed.
Thursday’s 303 LTA-04 Session, Airship Development, was chaired by Charles Lambert, and included the following paper/presentations:
4133: ZRCV: The Giant That Almost Was, authored by and presented by the producer.
4134: Lighter-Than-Air (LTA) ‘Aircraft Carriers’ of Persistent, Cheap Micro-Weaponized UAV Swarms for Fleet BMD Overwatch, EW, and Wide-Area ASW/Surveillance, by J. Bosma. This innovative plan of using micro-UAVs in large numbers from an airship base was given by Ron Hochstetler.
4135: Application of Large UAV Test Principles to LTA Platforms, by M.L. McDaniel. Michael’s candid presentation brought experience of real-world UAV testing to would-be LTA UAV builders.
4136: Reconfigurable Cellular Composite Structures for Lighter than Air Vehicles by Grace M. Copplestone and K. Cheung. Grace, the only female presenter, left the audience aghast with her presentation of developments in their “digital cellular” structure research, with its profound implications for LTA hulls.
The scheduled Airship do Brasil oral presentation was to be the last of the session. “A case study as of Latin America’s newest LTA company by M.A. De Felippes.” Since the show’s creator was unable to attend due to a last minute conflict, the power point was e-mailed to Ed. who gave it a shot. Attendees were eager to see and hear what progress had been made by the company whose had just christened and rolled out their first ship. (See Cover Story.) Attendees left the conference with a renewed optimism that the best LTA has to offer is yet to come!
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