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Low Reynolds Vehicle (LRV)

The LRV-2 (Low Reynolds Vehicle No. 2) was a remotely piloted research vehicle (RPRV) developed at NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center, Edwards, California, to conduct aerodynamic and auto-pilot systems experiments on ultra-light aircraft. The aircraft made its maiden voyage October 20, 1982. The LRV-2 had a 32 ft. wingspan with a 1.5 lb per square foot wing loading. The aluminum tube structure was covered with a lightweight dacron fabric and was powered by a ten horsepower two-stroke engine.

DFRC Photo # Photo Date Image Description
  Skip links in main table Low Reynolds Vehicle (LRV) Photo Collection Contact Sheet
E-38986 December 16, 1981 LRV vehicle parked on ramp
ECN-17842 1981 PIK-20 and LRV vehicles parked on ramp

Additional Information

The LRV-2 was equipped with a lightweight RPRV system comprised of a radio-control uplink, a nose-mounted television system, a radar transponder for precise tracking and a telemetry system for research data.

The lightweight exprimental autopilot system installed in the aircraft was gyroless with no moving parts. Future high altitude solar powered aircraft platforms may utilize systems of this type. The control surfaces; elevator, ailerons, and rudder all had large overhang projections forward of the hinge lines to minimize hinge moments for the small electric acuators.

Wing tip extensions, with experimental wing airfoil sections, were installed and instrumented for surface pressures and wake drag measurements. The very low flying speed of the LRV-2 allowed Reynolds numbers matching those of current and future high altitude lightweight RPRVs. The Reynolds number is a measurement roughly equivalent to "viscosity" as measured in liquids.

The LRV-2 was flown by one of two "radio-control" pilots. The vehicle could be flown by a "visual pilot" sitting in the back of a "chase" pickup truck, or by an "IFR" pilot watching a television screen and a radar plot board. Landings and take-offs were conducted by either pilot, however, research maneuvers were performed by the IFR pilot having attitude information from the forward looking TV and other data from the telemetry system down-linked from the aircraft.

The LRV-2 was flown to 20,000 ft altitude to provide Reynolds number variations and altitude effects on the onboard experiments.

Last Modified: October 3, 1996
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