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NASA’s Research Aircraft Makes First Flight
NASA’s Prototype-Technology Evaluation and Research Aircraft (PTERA) completed its first flight on October 22, 2015. PTERA is a new modular, subscale, remotely piloted aircraft. Developed by Area-I, Inc. of Kennesaw, Georgia, PTERA resembles an 11%-scale Boeing 737. It has an 3.4-meter (11.3-foot) wingspan, 90.7-kilogram (200-pound) gross weight, and two 22.6-kilogram (50-pound) thrust JetCat P200 engines. Its configuration can be altered to test unconventional designs that would be too dangerous or expensive to test on a full-size aircraft. Researchers hope to conduct flight evaluations of special alloys and flight profiles in the near-future. The image shows PETRA at NASA’s Armstrong Flight Loads Laboratory.