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Dynamic Assembly of Large-Scale Airborne Structure & NextGen SDO

A while ago Alex shared a cool video link of skydivers under canopy linking together into a large array, holding a stable forward glide, then unlinking for separate landings. Future flight automation should be capable of comparable operations. Perhaps the best way to make a vast AWECS is to fly many individual aircraft into linked formations like the complex kite arches the forum recently considered. In routine calm or storm the many pieces would unlink to land on a small field. Malfunctioning units will be hotswappable. An array of this sort could even reconfigure continuously for conditions, including load demand. Dynamic assembly in free-space allows vast structures not otherwise practical. Diverse pieces made anywhere in the world might even fly together into a composite system & fly apart to specific maintenence locations. Ships & trains might serve a mobile bases for airborne dynamic assembly.

NextGen Airspace is a major overhaul & upgrade of the US Air Traffic Control system lead by NASA & the FAA, due to be fully operational in 2025. The R&D has been seriously underway for about five years. A core concept of NextGen is Super-Density Operations (SDO), the ability to crowd the most operations into an airport to meet peak air-traffic demands. NextGen & AWE share many common sub-issues such as trajectory planning & wake turbulence. A spin-off SDO application will be AWE dense-arrays that take-off, link, separate, & land in large numbers. AWE R&D can piggy-back on the NextGen bandwagon.

CoolIP                       ~Dave Santos            March 13 , 2010          M3203


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