The Michigan Engineer News Center

The X-HALE: A high altitude long endurance aircraft

The X-HALE’s flexibility and wing length could change the future of commercial flight.| Short Read
The X-HALE is a very flexible, long-winged aircraft that collects data to be used for future code validation. These longer wings could cut aircraft emissions by 10%, due to reduced drag, decreasing the cost of flying. University of Michigan Aerospace Engineering professor Carlos Cesnik designed and built the X-HALE, an experimental high-altitude long endurance unmanned aerial vehicle.
EnlargeProfessor works on small aircraft
IMAGE:  Carlos Cesnik, Professor of Aerospace Engineering at the University of Michigan, and his team took the X-HALE aircraft out to test new autopilot features at the Chrysler Proving Grounds in Chelsea, Michigan. Photo: Levi Hutmacher

University of Michigan Aerospace Engineering professor Carlos Cesnik designed and built the X-HALE, an experimental high-altitude long endurance unmanned aerial vehicle, and flight simulation software that will allow them to test the uncertainties and obstacles of long winged aircrafts.  This experimental aircraft has very flexible, long-wings.  Aircraft with longer wings have a higher aerodynamic performance due to reduced drag.  A 50% increase in wing aspect ratio would lead to 10% less fuel burn, significantly cutting back airplane emissions.

As a society we are looking for ways that we can fly more efficiently.Carlos Cesnik
Professor works on small aircraft

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The electrons absorb laser light and set up “momentum combs” (the hills) spanning the energy valleys within the material (the red line). When the electrons have an energy allowed by the quantum mechanical structure of the material—and also touch the edge of the valley—they emit light. This is why some teeth of the combs are bright and some are dark. By measuring the emitted light and precisely locating its source, the research mapped out the energy valleys in a 2D crystal of tungsten diselenide. Credit: Markus Borsch, Quantum Science Theory Lab, University of Michigan.

Mapping quantum structures with light to unlock their capabilities

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