Investigations Related to the Use of Atmospheric Electric Fields for Aircraft and RPV Stabilization.
JOHNS HOPKINS UNIV LAUREL MD APPLIED PHYSICS LAB
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The atmospheric electric field is oriented vertically, or very nearly so, over a large fraction of the earth a large fraction of the time. Low-cost, lightweight, rugged electronic devices have been used to sense the electric field and provide a vertical reference for airborne vehicles. This report describes some research that has been done to attempt to clarify the performance and practicability of this concept. A review of atmospheric electricity is given along with a description of original theoretical and experimental work dealing with the electrostatic sensing system. Data obtained during flight tests with an instrumented Cessna Skymaster aircraft are reported. The results support the expectation that there are some limitations associated with weather, but it appears that the concept may be useful under a sufficiently wide variety of atmospheric conditions so that improved or new capability in military systems might be achieved by applying this technology to special classes of vehicles.
- Pilotless Aircraft
- Atmospheric Physics