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Hunter Denton and Farid Saemi’s research has the potential to increase the performance and operation of unmanned aerial systems. | Image: Courtesy of Hunter Denton and Farid Saemi

Hunter Denton and Farid Saemi, graduate students in the Department of Aerospace Engineering at Texas A&M University, each won a best paper award at the Vertical Flight Society’s 2020 annual forum for their unmanned aerial system (UAS) research. The Vertical Flight Society’s annual forum is the preeminent conference for vertical flight technology. 

Denton’s paper, “Design, Development and Flight Testing of a Gun-Launched Rotary-Wing Micro Air Vehicle,” tied for the best paper award in the Advanced Vertical Flight session. This is the second time in a row that Denton has won this award. Denton’s research to launch small in-flight reconfigurable hover-capable UAS with grenade-or mortar-launch systems has the potential to significantly increase the range of operation of these systems since the vehicles do not have to expend as much energy flying to a designated area.

Saemi’s paper, “Development of a Brushless DC Motor Sizing Algorithm for a Small UAS Design Framework,” won the best paper award in the Propulsion session. Saemi’s research to optimize the electric motor, battery and power electronics of UAS also has the potential to significantly increase the performance of these systems since their electrical components are often selected from rules of thumb rather than physics-based calculations. 

Aerospace engineering associate professor Dr. Moble Benedict advises both students in the Advanced Vertical Flight Laboratory. In past years, Denton and Saemi have each earned the U.S. Army Research Laboratory’s prestigious Journeyman Fellowship for their graduate studies. Both students are currently working toward their doctoral degrees.