Thursday, January 26, 2017

NASA Simulation Demonstrates the Airflow Created by a Quadcopter Drone

I’ve been a drone pilot for the past several years.  In fact, I’ve been flying these things long enough to be able to say I was part of the hobby when a lot of it was DIY.

One of the things that has always amazed me about these devices is the amount of air they throw off.  My first drone was a hexacopter (6 blades) and the first time it took off, it left a mini crop circle in the grass of the launch area.  I’m now flying a DJI Quadcopter and even though it has 2 fewer rotors, it still throws of an amazing amount of air.

Up until now, the only way you could get an appreciation for this was to get sort of close to the copter which really isn’t the safest thing to do.  Now, thanks to NASA we can SEE exactly what is going on.
The bright minds at NASA’s Ames Research Center did a computer simulation of airflow coming from a DJI Phantom 3 quadcopter.  It shows graphically how the air interacts and moves on the props and the body of the drone.  Airflow interactions are shown an undulating lines.  Pressure changes are shown using color.  Areas of high pressure are red; low are blue.

As a diehard geek, this is one of the coolest things I’ve seen lately.

For the video above: Credits: NASA Ames Research Center/NASA Advanced Supercomputing Division/Tim Sandstrom

If you’d like to see the webpage featuring this, here is the link.

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