Left to right:
Back row: Trey Green, Dillan Lein, David Wasilewski, Sam Ruhlin, Derrek Brock, Theodore Pernula, Joe Cairo, Ryan Story
Middle row: Kate Spierings, Carter Sawin, Jose Montesinos, Josh Buettner, Kyle Mckinney, John Ackert, David Eddy, Alex Scott
Front row: Todd Nelson, Alex Nielsen, Hayden Walker, Ethan Witt, Diganto Bhattacharyya, Mike Londergan, Rishon D’Souza

Project Advisor: Cdr. Daniel Buhr
Project Lead: Todd Nelson
Contact Todd at tnelso@iastate.edu

Project Overview

Cardinal Flight’s project will serve as a multi-mission sUAV with the flexibility of multiple flight regimes. The aircraft will be capable of multiple missions through a detachable payload module. The aircraft will also have the capability of low speed flight with hover and high speed conventional flight. These capabilities will be achieved through the use of a rotating wing. Combined, this will make for a flexible and versatile aerial platform that can be tailored to specific organization or group needs at Iowa State.

Project Scope

Cardinal Flight plans to take an iterative approach to executing the group’s extended mission. The team will have the ultimate goal to create and implement a new aircraft every academic year. The work will be divided into two separate phases. The fall semester will act as the Design Phase where the team will complete all computer modeling and acquire the required components of the aircraft. The spring semester will act as the Manufacturing and Flight Phase. These two phases should remain cyclic for Cardinal Flight in the coming years.
In addition to a yearly aircraft design, Cardinal Flight plans to be the responsible operator of each aircraft. The team shall be producing a complete analysis and operating procedure for each system on board and those required on the ground to properly operate the vehicle.
This year, the group will primarily focus on developing a new aircraft. This multi-mission and unconventional aircraft will greatly expand the group’s experience with UAVs. In addition to undertaking a new project, this semester the project will include finalizing Arrow, the solar assisted aircraft, for solar flight. Once work on the new aircraft and Arrow have been completed, the team will fly at an approved site. The new aircraft will be capable of two flight regimes and various missions. The first mission to be developed will be as an aerial imaging platform.

Mission Statement

Cardinal Flight pushes the capabilities of small Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (sUAV) utilizing off the shelf components to create a low cost aerial vehicle with an unconventional configuration allowing for operation in multiple flight regimes.
Arrow, Cardinal Flight’s solar powered glider
Cardinal Flight’s latest aircraft design, the Kestrel X, based on NASA’s Greased Lightning