NASA’s Glenn Research Center will be flying an aircraft at various altitudes over roadways across greater Cleveland, Lodi, Mansfield, and Medina areas in Ohio while testing aviation communications technologies.
The purpose of the flights, which will commence tomorrow Thursday, May 18, is to provide evaluations which form part of the development of new advanced air mobility (AAM) automated transport systems.
AAM and air taxis
The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) recently released an updated blueprint for airspace and procedure changes to accommodate future air taxis and other Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) operations.
Under the blueprint, AAM operations will begin at a low rate with air taxis flying much as helicopters do today.
NASA researchers are evaluating commercial communications technologies that will allow highly automated transportation systems to operate and move passengers or cargo at lower altitudes within urban and suburban areas.
The aerial operations in Cleveland will be conducted by NASA’s Pilatus PC-12 which is outfitted with monitors to measure cell tower signal strength.
NASA impending flights
The impending NASA flights across the Cleveland region are scheduled during daylight hours starting Thursday, May 18, until Sunday, June 25.
All flights will be conducted at appropriate altitudes to safeguard the public, wildlife, or infrastructure. The aircraft will fly no lower than 500 feet in rural areas, and no lower than 1,000 feet in populated areas.
The NASA PC-12
A Pilatus PC-12 aircraft will take on a key role in the agency’s investigation of how to manage the emerging advanced air mobility ecosystem.
After retiring two aging aircraft in the last year, Glenn’s flight operations experts conducted a detailed study to find the perfect replacement.
The new PC-12 offers the versatility NASA Glenn needed. This 2008 turboprop has a pressurized cabin and can fly at altitudes from 4,000 to 30,000 feet for long flights at a cruising speed of 322 miles per hour. This allows it to go long distances for testing in many environments.
The PC-12 can land on short, unpaved runways if necessary. It is so versatile that the Royal Flying Doctor Service of Australia uses it in the punishing extremes of the Outback.
NASA have made modifications to the interior to accommodate teams of researchers and their equipment, and the aircraft is used for a variety of aeronautic research missions.
Initially, the aircraft’s primary research will evaluate commercial communications technologies that will allow highly automated transportation systems to operate and move passengers or cargo at lower altitudes within urban and suburban areas.
This work supports the NASA Advanced Air Mobility mission’s plan to map out a safe, accessible, and affordable new air transportation system alongside industry and community partners and the Federal Aviation Administration.
These new capabilities would allow passengers and cargo to travel on-demand in innovative, automated aircraft across town, between neighboring cities, or to other locations typically accessed today by car.
NASA’s Glenn Research Center
NASA’s Glenn Research Center, located in Cleveland, Ohio, is one of NASA’s ten major field centers. It was established in 1941 as the Aircraft Engine Research Laboratory and was later renamed in 1999 to honor astronaut and former director John H. Glenn Jr.
The center focuses on a wide range of research and technology development activities to advance aeronautics and space exploration.
The primary mission of NASA’s Glenn Research Center is to develop innovative technologies and conduct cutting-edge research to enhance aviation and space travel.
The center’s expertise spans various disciplines, including aerodynamics, propulsion, materials science, microgravity science, and space systems.
Glenn’s work has contributed significantly to the advancement of aviation and space exploration throughout its history.
Glenn Research Center plays a vital role in NASA’s aeronautics research, working on improving aircraft efficiency, reducing environmental impact, and enhancing safety.
The center conducts research in areas such as advanced propulsion systems, including electric and hybrid aircraft propulsion, and explores new concepts for future aviation, such as supersonic and hypersonic flight.