Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Drones fly alongside manned planes in Navy test mission

Drones fly alongside manned planes in Navy test mission: The U.S. Navy is testing whether or not drones can be safely and effectively incorporated into manned flight operations. To find out, Navy aviation recently paired its unmanned X-47B plane with its manned F/A-18 Hornet in a series of short combined maneuvers.

For Navy flight operators, the major question mark is whether a drone aircraft can react and perform quickly and safely in an emergency situation, when directives are issued on the fly and movements must be quickly improvised.

On Sunday morning, the X-47B proved capable of handling an emergency landing situation (also called an arrested landing), after being launched from the USS Theodore Roosevelt aircraft carrier alongside a F/A-18. After an eight-minute flight, the drone craft quickly landed, folded its wings and taxied out of the landing area so that the Navy pilot could quickly land the Hornet in the wake of the X-47B's recovery landing.