This historic film, which is silent, shows NASA research projects in the 1970s with unmanned aircraft, drones, and remotely piloted vehicles. The film begins with shots of a radio controlled airplane flying off what appears to be the lakebed of Edwards Air Force Base. The plane is fitted with smoke pods that allow it to be seen from a great distance, assisting the operator in making a landing. At 2:22 the arrangement is shown in a close-up. At 3:15 a lifting body, probably the Hyper III, is shown being outfitted with radio antennas that allow it to be flown by remote control. The Hyper III was a full-scale lifting-body remotely piloted research vehicle (RPRV) built at what was then the NASA Flight Research Center located at Edwards Air Force Base. It flew only once in December 1969. At 3:48 the remote control cockpit is shown, with the pilot sitting on the lakebed at Dryden. It lands on the lakebed at 5:10. At 5:25, another ground cockpit is shown, with a drone twin-engine aircraft, the PA-30 Twin Comanche, being flown to a landing on the lakebed. The technique was first tested with the cockpit windows of the light aircraft blacked out while the pilot flew the aircraft utilizing a television monitor which gave him a "pilot's eye" view ahead of the aircraft. Later pilots flew the aircraft from a ground cockpit, a procedure used with all RPRV's. TV and two-way telemetry allow the pilot to be in constant control of the aircraft. The apparatus mounted over the cockpit is a special fish eye lens camera, used to obtain images that are transmitted to the ground based cockpit. This project paved the way for sophisticated, highly successful research programs involving high risk spin, stall, and flight control conditions, such as the HiMAT and the subscale F-15 remotely piloted vehicles. At 6:48, a flying test bed -- the subscale F-15 Remotely Piloted Research Vehicle (RPRV) is shown on the wing of a B-52 carrier aircraft. It is later taken to altitude and released. It was air launched from the B-52 at approximately 45,000 feet and was controlled by a pilot in a ground cockpit complete with flight controls and a television screen. The F-15 model in this particular configuration was known as the Spin Research Vehicle (SRV).At 8:35, high altitude imagers are shown of the Edwards Air Force Base vicinity, apparently shot with the prototype aircraft. Its parachute is seen deploying at 10:52. It is retrieved at 12:12. At 12:23 a similar aircraft is shown making a landing, with its gear replaced by skids. At 13:00, what appears to be a "mini-sniffer" drone is seen being tested. These were a series of unmanned aerial vehicles designed to sample the air at high altitude to support various scientific studies -- and monitor the Russian nuclear tests ensuring compliance. In the early 1970s, NASA engineer Dale Reed was investigating methods for sampling the atmosphere at very high altitudes, up to 21 kilometers (70,000 feet). NASA's studies into supersonic transport jets had led to questions about their possible impact on the upper atmosphere, and Reed designed a series of "Mini-Sniffer" drones to take air samples at high altitudes. Three Mini-Sniffers were built by NASA Dryden Flight Research Center, and were flown from 1975 through 1982. At 20:30, another NASA research aircraft is shown. This is possibly the Low Reynolds Vehicle although we're not really sure -- so if you know, please leave us a note!!
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This film is part of the Periscope Film LLC archive, one of the largest historic military, transportation, and aviation stock footage collections in the USA. Entirely film backed, this material is available for licensing in 24p HD, 2k and 4k. For more information visit http://www.PeriscopeFilm.com