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Randy Atkins: The unmanned plane would take advantage of rising warm air to get lift. Just like birds which…
James Hubbard: …turn in the direction where they experience that lift and actually center themselves in the heat plume and then just float. Minimum energy flying.
Randy Atkins: James Hubbard, a University of Maryland aerospace engineer, says laser radar could find such updrafts. The sky surfing plane would maneuver using wings made with smart materials that feel the motion in waves of air.
James Hubbard: You want something that stays up like satellites do and doesn’t really need to be attended to or require much maintenance.
Randy Atkins: Uses range from surveillance to atmospheric monitoring. With the National Academy of Engineering, Randy Atkins, 103 point 5 F-M and WTOP-dot-com.