UW News

October 17, 2000

UW and Insitu testing latest miniature robotic aircraft design for attempted flight across the Pacific Ocean

Engineers at the University of Washington and The Insitu Group, who collaborated in 1998 to make the first crossing of the Atlantic Ocean by an unmanned aircraft.

A wind-tunnel test of the airframe for a new miniature robotic aircraft, and announcement of the timetable for very long-range demonstration flights across the Pacific Ocean.

10:30 a.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 18.

The Kirsten Wind Tunnel on the UW Seattle campus. The wind tunnel is located off Stevens Way, just south of the Husky Union Building. Ask for directions at the guard gate.

Researchers with the UW Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics, and The Insitu Group, a Bingen, Wash. engineering firm, are testing the airframe of a new miniature robotic aircraft, dubbed “Seascan” (www.insitugroup.com/Seascan.html) at the Kirsten Wind Tunnel. Members of the media are invited to observe the airframe under test, and talk with project leaders about plans for a transpacific demonstration in 2001. In 1998, the UW and Insitu made history when Laima, an unmanned 29-pound prototype developed under the “Aerosonde” project, made the first unmanned Atlantic crossing. It flew 2,000 miles from Newfoundland to Scotland in about 27 hours, while burning only 1.5 gallons of gasoline. The Pacific crossing, covering about 5,000 miles from Asia to Washington State with aircraft of about the same size, will highlight newer technology offering much improved performance and readiness for routine service. These small, inexpensive aircraft promise a revolution in cost and capability, making applications such as offshore weather observation and remote environmental monitoring affordable on a wide scale.


For more information, contact Juris Vagners, UW professor of aeronautics and astronautics, at (206) 543-7937 or vagners@aa.washington.edu, or Tad McGeer, president of The Insitu Group, (509) 493-8600, (541) 490 4103 (cell) or insitu@insitugroup.com.