Design, Construction, and Operation of a Pneumatic Test Launch Apparatus for sUAS Prototypes
The design and testing of small unmanned aerial vehicle (sUAV) prototypes can provide numerous difficulties when compared to the same process applied to larger aircraft. In most cases, it is desirable to have a better understanding of the low Reynolds number aerodynamics and stability characteristics prior to completion of the final sUAV design. This paper describes the design, construction, and operational performance of a pneumatic launch apparatus that has been used at West Virginia University (WVU) for the development and early flight testing of transforming sUAV platforms. Although other launch platforms exist that can provide the safe launch of such prototypes, the particular launch apparatus constructed at WVU exhibits unmatched launch efficiency, and is far less expensive to operate per shot than any other launch system available.