Networking & Communications

Guidance in Flight

June 1, 2005 By: Barbara G. Goode, Sensors Sensors


Remember Steve Fossett, the pilot who successfully guided his Global Flyer in the first solo round-the-world flight? The Global Flyer relied on the Altitude and Heading Reference System (AHRS) from Crossbow Technology, Inc. (www.xbow.com), for primary flight altitude and heading guidance. The AHRS500GA is the world's first stand-alone MEMS-based AHRS to receive FAA certification.

"The Global Flyer placed demands on the Crossbow AHRS that were unlike any other airborne application." says Crossbow president and CEO Mike Horton. "When we designed this AHRS, we never imagined that it would be used to guide a solo pilot in a world-record flight. The Global Flyer's success makes us very proud."



Now, the manufacturer of MEMS-based sensor systems for the inertial guidance and wireless mesh networking markets is playing a key role in another ambitious manned flight application: the Springtail single-person air vehicle from Trek Aerospace, Inc. Both the Global Flyer and the Springtail use off-the-shelf intelligent sensing solutions from Crossbow.

The Springtail, recently featured on the CBS News program 60 Minutes, is a single-operator powered-lift vehicle developed by Trek Aerospace (www.trekaerospace.com). Reminiscent of the "jet packs" of the 1960's, Springtail can take off and land almost anywhere. At the heart of the Springtail's control system is Crossbow's IMU400 6DOF, an inertial measurement unit that provides full 6-degree-of-freedom motion sensing for navigation and control systems.


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