Inspired to Soar

Welcome to the Science Of Aeronautical Research - SOAR. For centuries, pioneers, explorers, scientists, and engineers have been inspired by the science of aeronautics. Now it's your turn to SOAR into the fascinating world of flight.

As an ACE Flight Team member, you will be called on to pilot aircraft in a variety of assignments around the world. In most cases you will fly a Remotely Piloted Vehicle ("RPV"). These are also referred to as Unmanned Aerial Vehicles ("UAV"), or drones.

Each assignment is a mission, and each mission has specific objectives that are outlined in the Mission Objectives message in the logbook. Aeronautics requires an understanding of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math ("STEM"), and these mission objectives will challenge your STEM knowledge. Click here to see a logbook mission sample.

Inspired to Soar engages ACE Flight Team members in five exciting training missions exploring airfoil flight in two different RPV aircraft.

Mission One: Take Off for Your Future

In this mission students will:

  1. Define the four forces of flight
  2. Discuss the principles behind the force of Lift
  3. Identify basic flight instruments for each of the two RPVs you will fly in these missions
  4. Identify aircraft flight control surfaces; and demonstrate control of the variables of pitch and power by:
    1. -Completing a smooth takeoff
      -Flying through three heads-up display (HUD) gates
      -Performing two touch-and-go landings
      -Completing a full stop landing

Mission Two: Hong Kong Maneuvering

In mission one, students mastered take-off, straight flight, and landing. However, future missions will require banking turns and altitude changes, referred to as maneuvering. Aircraft can move freely in three dimensions along 3 different axes. Objects that move freely in 3-dimensions can move in two ways relative to each axis; linearly or rotationally. This results in six different movements, also called Six Degrees of Freedom, or 6-DOF (3 axes x 2 movements/axis = six degrees of freedom).

Pilots must be able to control the aircraft movements around these three axes. Pilots should never rely on their "feeling", or physical response mechanisms, to determine aircraft motion. Such motion can often fool your senses. Therefore, one must learn to read and trust his instruments to determine and control aircraft motion in the six degrees of freedom.

Mission Three: Colorado Balloon Tag

Flying is all about attitude. The attitude of the aircraft is often dictated by the attitude of the pilot. Pilots must know the math and science that governs flight. They must be well trained; confident of their capabilities and well aware of their limitations. They must continuously assess their aircraft attitude, as well as their ability to deal with any challenge which they may encounter while in the air.

Changes alter attitudes. Pilots must anticipate and control aircraft attitude changes in order to keep their own attitudes under control. A good way to control attitude is to control the changes that impact attitude. In aviation this requires the ability to control turns and turning rates in all flight situations, including level flight and during changes in altitude (climbing or descending).

Mission Four: Jamaica Bay "Carrier Operations"

Every time you fly you should have a plan. Even if you are taking off for some leisurely sight seeing, you need to plan your flight. Planning is not only important when you fly. Planning is a very important skill set that you will use throughout your life. It requires critical thinking to evaluate options to achieve your objective. You also must evaluate alternative solutions should actual conditions cause a change in your plan.

Effective planning requires another equally important skill - Estimating. You must estimate the outcome of each step or increment of your plan to make sure that your plan is reasonable and has a chance of success. These two skills are closely aligned. Planning and Estimating are fundamental to the management of any project and provide a road map to success in many endeavors.

Mission Five: Aran Islands Air Race

A significant benefit of RPV aircraft is their flexibility. As the pilot of an RPV, you must be prepared to fly your aircraft on a variety of missions anywhere in the world, at any time, and in any weather. Fortunately, the general principles of flight and the earth navigation system are globally consistent.

However, differences in weather patterns and terrain create new challenges with each geographic location. You should study the geography and characteristics of the Area of Operations (AO) for each mission, being sure to note any special considerations or preparations as you develop your Flight Plan.