Falls Church, Virginia, On February 25, 2015 Vanilla Aircraft LLC successfully completed first flight of the VA001 Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS), a 36-ft wingspan Ultra-Long Endurance (ULE) aircraft designed to fly missions of up to 10 days. The aircraft (N240HR) launched carrying an 18-lb simulated payload and sufficient fuel for a 24-hour flight. Powered by an efficient heavy-fuel engine, the UAS flew autonomously under a Certificate Of Authorization (COA) in the national airspace at altitudes up to 6000 feet MSL before landing, meeting all test objectives. “Today, the team’s hard work really paid off – the airplane flew beautifully and showed all the performance we expected. This maiden flight test provided validation of the VA001 design and its remarkable capabilities.” stated Neil Boertlein, co-founder and Chief Engineer for the VA001.
Additional flight tests are being planned with Vanilla’s customer to reach the aircraft’s full payload, endurance and altitude capabilities. “In operation, the VA001’s unmatched range and endurance will greatly reduce the operating cost and man-power burden to provide persistent aerial coverage, and enable new missions previously beyond the capabilities of mid-sized UAS.” stated Peter Bale, head of business development and strategy, “We are really looking forward to the next phases of this game-changing program”
Vanilla Aircraft is a small business located in Falls Church, Virginia specializing in the design, fabrication and test of unmanned aircraft. The VA001 program began development under Vanilla IR&D funding and Phase I and Phase II SBIR funding from the NASA Earth Sciences Division.
For further information contact Vanilla Aircraft at [email protected]