NASA Wind Energy Airborne Harvesting System Study


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Forum Home > General Discussion > Sticky: Will NASA face free-flight AWECS in first round?

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Free-flight AWECS opportunities have not the tether to ground, have not the land use cost, and have not the visual challenges for neighborhoods, have not anchor costs, have not land siting costs, etc..   One branch of free-flight AWECS is the dynamic two-kite arrangement that stays aloft by smart controls of the positions of the kites that terminate the tether.   Energy mined may be used aloft  onboard or sent to other aircraft or beamed to ground for village or grid uses around the world.   Will NASA be including free-flight AWECS in its broad study of AWE? 

December 14, 2010 at 1:43 PM Flag Quote & Reply

dave santos
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Free-Flight is the term used for sustained flight by multiple tethered-foils opposed across a wind gradient. The Planetary Boundary Layer is the most common gradient. Small scale kites have already sustained flight downwind, but tethered-foils can in principle fly in any direction faster than the wind.


Soaring champion Dale Kramer proposes to pilot the first manned free-flight test, which would consist of his high-performance sailplane tethered over several thousand feet to a large soft-kite. While Dale can get clearance for a demonstration, popularization of this flight mode in the NAS will require NextGen flight trajectory & moving-constrained-airspace control.


NASA should study Free-Flight under its aeronautic research mission, but its marginal to the early airborne wind energy "harvesting" studies, which should focus on the simplest, cheapest, most-effective methods.


Beamed power is even farther from practical adoption. These side-topics should move to specialized Forum threads.


December 25, 2010 at 2:36 PM Flag Quote & Reply
Dave North
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Doug Selsam
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