Left to Right Back Row: Derrek Brock, Joe Cairo, David Wasilewski, Sam Ruhlin, Cole Drenth   Middle Row: Spencer Eaton, Trey Green, Zachary Hickey, Kyle McKinney, Alex Scott, David Eddy, Ted Pernula  Front Row: Ethan Witt, John Ackert, Mehmad Ashfaq, Hayden Walker, Samuel Andrys  Not Pictured: Dillan Lein, Carter Sawin

Project Advisor: Dr. Bella Kim
Project Lead: Joseph Cairo
Contact Joe at jpcairo@iastate.edu

Project Overview

Cardinal Flight’s project will serve as a multi-mission UAV 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, a Design Phase where the team will complete all computer modeling and acquire the required components of the aircraft, and a 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 semester, the group will primarily focus on manufacturing a previously designed aircraft. This multi-mission and unconventional aircraft will greatly expand the group’s experience with UAVs. In addition to completing this project, the group will also finalize 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.
Compass, Cardinal Flight’s first solar powered UAV
Arrow, Cardinal Flight’s 18-foot wingspan solar powered glider
Kestral X, Cardinal Flight’s latest aircraft design, based on NASA’s Greased Lightning