Aerospace Student Pilots Unmanned Planes With Eye Toward Future

Mark Palframan, center, works on and is primary pilot of the E-SPAARO unmanned plane, part of the Virginia Tech’s Nonlinear Systems Lab. Flanking him are John Coggin (left), a senior research associate at Virginia Tech’s Institute for Critical Technology and Applied Science, and (right) engineering doctoral student Chris Kevorkian.

Mark Palframan, center, works on and is primary pilot of the E-SPAARO unmanned plane, part of the Virginia Tech’s Nonlinear Systems Lab. Flanking him are John Coggin (left), a senior research associate at Virginia Tech’s Institute for Critical Technology and Applied Science, and (right) engineering doctoral student Chris Kevorkian.

– See more at: http://theroanokestar.com/2014/10/07/aerospace-student-pilots-unmanned-planes-with-eye-toward-future/#sthash.zlc9u4uQ.dpufWhen Mark Palframan sets to work, he’s at Virginia Tech’s Kentland Research Farm. No dirt is involved, though. His hands are on a souped-up remote control device, and his eyes look to the air, set sharp on the unmanned E-SPAARO aircraft as it soars 400 hundred feet above the ground. The Electric-SPAARO — short for Small Platform for Autonomous Aerial Research Operations — is a small unmanned aerial system operated by Virginia Tech’s Nonlinear Systems Lab that can fly either autonomously or by remote control.

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