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Source: Kurt Barnhart, 785-532-2972, kurtb@k-state.edu
Website: http://www.k-state.edu/media/mediaguide/bios/barnhartbio.html
News release prepared by: Natalie Blair, 785-826-2642, nblair@k-state.edu

Monday, June 14, 2010


SALINA -- Kansas State University at Salina's Applied Aviation Research Center has spent the last several months working with Heliplane LLC, based in Milford. The result of their efforts is the AirTrailer, which is also known as an unmanned cargo autogyro glider -- a new class of aircraft.

AirTrailer is a registered trademark.

Randy Babbitt, administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration, has confirmed in a letter to U.S. Rep. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., that the AirTrailer does not fit any previous category of flying craft and subsequently will not require normal airframe certification.

Because they are not considered an unmanned aircraft, they can be employed in civil airspace much like a towed banner.

"This new class of flying machines promises to double the range of all helicopters, triple helicopter external load capacity, enable removed electronic interference from manned helicopters' electronic sensor suites and provide disaster relief supplies to be delivered by low-cost airplanes with helicopter-like precision," said Charles Jarnot, president of Jarnot Aerospace Corporation. "The UCAG promises to be the first commercially viable unmanned flying machine. Its game-changing range extension for helicopters and great increase in external loads could see their wide spread use in battle zones like Afghanistan and on the home front with search-and-rescue helicopters."

The AirTrailer is an unpowered autogyro towed by either a helicopter or airplane to transport cargo, carry additional fuel for extended range or lift an electronic suit of transmitters, detection sensors or even a military decoy to distract enemy missiles. Because the trailer acts as its own lifting device, the additional fuel, cargo or sensors do not impact the towing aircraft's normal payload.

The AirTrailer was designed by Jarnot and engineered and designed by John Morris, and Thom Dasher, Heliplane LLC employees.

K-State at Salina students worked on the prototype vehicles, taking care of some metal fabrication, fitting and welding on the AirTrailer structure. They also built up and rigged rotor head and rotor blade systems, and installed pitch and roll control mechanisms.

Students working on the project included Brian Robinson, senior in aviation maintenance, Tecumseh; Jesse Plucker, senior in aviation maintenance, Wichita; and Robin Suprenant, senior in aviation maintenance, Cochise, Ariz.

The students were supervised by K-State at Salina's Drew Smith, associate professor of aviation.

The Heliplane LLC/K-State team flew the world's first unmanned cargo autogyro glider at Herington Regional Airport, Herington, Feb. 21.

The Applied Aviation Research Center advances aerospace technology through application of research in propulsion, airframe, avionics and aviation training. The center is a cooperative venture of K-State at Salina, the Salina Airport Authority and the Salina Chamber of Commerce. Executive director of the center is Kurt Barnhart, professor and head of the department of aviation at K-State at Salina.



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