|The unmanned flying saucer||- Flying Saucer|
Unmanned Flying Saucer from GFS Projects.
See the company web site at http://www.gfsprojects.co.uk/ for more on this very interesting technology.
As seen at the AUVSI Conference 2008 in San Diego.
From selection of winning photographs at UAV 2007 Conference in Paris.
13 September 2007
A small British company based in Peterborough called GFS Projects, says it has built the world's first flying saucer. The 60-cm-diameter craft made its first flight at a technology event at Churchill College, Cambridge, on Wednesday.
The UAV is capable of vertical take off, fully controlled flight, hovering and landing on a specified point. It uses the Coanda principle - first discovered by Romanian aviation engineer Henri Coanda in 1910 - to create lift. It has very little downwash and is aerodynamically stable. All prototypes have so far been battery powered, but the design is scalable and the larger versions will have internal combustion engines.
The craft can hover and fly close to and within buildings. Having no exposed rotating parts, brushes with walls etc, do not compromise the craft's flight. The creators of the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) say their technology has wide application, including military use (close quarter surveillance and intelligence gathering), mountain rescue, and even for farmers. Inventor Geoff Hatton said the team was still a few years away from a commercial product.
Flying saucers fitted with a range of sensors, including video and thermal imaging, he said, would be a very cost-effective alternative to scrambling helicopters for difficult rescue missions. Because the vehicles are unmanned, hazardous situations can be closely monitored without putting a crew at risk.
Director David Steel said that ultimately it should also be possible to design one around 10 metres in diameter big enough to carry people. It could be used to get emergency medical teams into areas where it is impossible to land a plane or a helicopter, because of difficult terrain. The saucer can land on uneven ground or even on a slope.
The Coanda effect says air passed over a curved surface would reduce the pressure on its upper surface, causing it to rise. The challenge is to generate sufficient airflow to create lift, while keeping it stable and preventing rotation.
GFS Projects Limited was formed in 2002 to design, develop and market a new form of flying. Our Unmanned Aerial vehicle (UAV) is based on the ideas and research of Geoff Hatton – the inventor. The company secured a SMART grant from the Department of Trade & Industry and equity funding from a group of investors.
The video on the GFS Projects company web site shows GFS13A in outdoor tests in May 2007 near the city of Peterborough, United Kingdom. Fully controled flight was achieved, to altitudes of around 80 feet, and the landing back to a launch pad of two feet square can be seen.
The GFS UAV
Our UAV is capable of vertical take off, fully controlled flight, hovering and landing on a specified point. By using the Coanda principle to create lift, it has very little downwash and is aerodynamically stable. To date all prototypes have been battery powered, but the design is scalable and the larger versions will have internal combustion engines.
Applications and uses
The craft will be most useful in urban environments, where its ability to hover and fly close to and within buildings will enable close quarter surveillance and intelligence gathering. Having no exposed rotating parts, brushes with walls etc., do not compromise the craft’s flight.
Numerous applications have been identified, including battlefield & urban surveillance, intelligent targeting, disaster area reconnaissance, communications relay and jamming, sensor distribution, land mine detection, air quality sampling, listening and search & rescue.
The Development Programme
Flight duration and payload are still limited, and the company is now focused on optimising fan, motors and canopy specifications, with a view to having a commercially solid range of capabilities by 2008. We are also seeking joint venture partners and licensees to work with in each of the main market sectors.
The Development Team
Geoff Hatton leads a team of aeronautics graduates and workshop technicians. Academic input comes from Dr H Babinsky at Cambridge University.