X-HALE: Designing A Very Flexible UAV for Aeroelastic Tests

Investigator(s): Pat Senatore, Blake Davis, Elizabeth Prentice

Sponsor : Boeing, AFRL/RQ


The Experimental HALE (X-HALE) aircraft is being developed as a low cost platform to obtain relevant nonlinear aeroelastic data to support validation of nonlinear aeroelastic code and also as future platform for control law studies. The aircraft should capture unique coupled nonlinear aeroelasticity/flight dynamics interactions in very flexible aircraft not easily obtained/possible from wind tunnel tests. Main requirements:

  • Well-characterized structural, aerodynamics, propulsive vehicle properties
  • Enough control authority to excite various flight conditions
  • Capable of static deformations on the order of 30% tip deflection
  • >30 minutes endurance

Ultimate deliverable: Open-source/benchmark-type data for aircraft construction, ground and flight (open/close-loop) test results.

X-HALE Design Overview

Starboard View

Front View

X-HALE aileron excitation, simulated in UM/NAST. Stability is restored by flipping horizontal stabilizer to vertical.