NASA Langley R/C model group and BVM Turbojet Flight Training Crew
Front row: Jeff Hill, Bob Violett, Dan Murry and Tom Dodgen.
Rear row: Bob Klenke and Mark Motter.
The NASA LARC group is engaged in a program to evaluate the use of dynamically scaled radio controlled jet airliners for flight test purposes. One of the goals of the program is to fly these turbojet models and evaluate selected failure modes of control surfaces and "upset" conditions and then successfully recover the model with a runway landing.
The program calls for NASA personnel to pilot the models during takeoff, recovery maneuver and landing. BVM was contracted to evaluate and enhance the R/C piloting skills of the NASA pilots and to help them obtain AMA Turbine Waiver certification. Two BVM KingCats with JetCat P-120 engines and JR 10X radios were used for the qualification flights. BVM pilots assisted each of the four using the "Pilot Link" system for familiarization flights and then coached them through the solo flights while Bob Violett directed and evaluated the progress.
The AMA Waiver certification flying was accomplished according to AMA document #538. Subsequently, ballast was added to the models to better prepare the NASA pilots for their ultimate goal of flying a heavily loaded 5.5% scaled 757 model. We used 5lb scuba diver soft packs placed between the main fuel tanks and then progressed to 10lbs of additional weight. The KingCats actually became easier to land in windy conditions and the pilots adapted quickly to the increased loading. Increased tire wear was noted but not a significant factor.
A prototype Fiorenze Airspeed Telemetry device was also part of the on-board equipment and it accurately displayed the increase in stall speeds as the ballast was added. This device allows the pilot to keep the model 10 to 15 mph above Vs during the approach.
We taught the NASA group to land the models using the NAVY Carrier Landing Technique of a constant speed, constant sink rate, power controlled approach and landing.
Our mission with the NASA R/C pilots was completely successful, the KingCats went home in one piece and all of the pilots are now AMA Waiver certified and smiling.