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Activity title

Assessment and reduction of installed propeller and rotor noise from unmanned aircraft

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Applied Vehicle Technology

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Audible detection, Effectiveness of UAS operations, Efficiency, Environmental impact, Human perception, Noise generation, Noise impact, Noise reduction, Propeller, Rotor, Safety, Unmanned Air Systems


It is expected that there will be an increase in the applications of Unmanned Air Systems (UAS) operating in both military and civil environments. These vehicle operations may be at relatively low altitude and have the potential to create significant audible detection, community annoyance and safety issues. At this time there is little data available on the noise from UAS especially in manoeuvring flight. Noise reduction and knowledge of the noise perceived at the ground can improve the effectiveness of operations with UAS. In addition, the prediction of the noise and methods for its reduction is a significant research and development challenge. In previous TG’s on noise (132, 198), appropriate knowledge of jet noise source prediction and sound propagation has been acquired and this knowledge can be used to investigate and solve UAS noise problems. However, UAS propeller and rotor noise has not been addressed for several years, though the development of new materials and fabrication techniques permits innovative design of low noise propellers or rotors.


It is proposed to establish a technical working group that will assess the state-of-the-art in UAS noise prediction and reduction and perform a technical assessment of the potential noise from UAS operations. The focus will be on installed propeller and rotor noise in relation to improved effectiveness of UAS operations. A technical report will be delivered that will identify gaps in technical knowledge and technology and propose methods to fill these gaps. An example would be the assessment and development of methods for design and manufacture of quiet propellers or rotors.


• An assessment of the state-of-the-art in the measurement and prediction of UAS propeller and rotor noise, • An assessment of the potential impact of increased UAS operations on communities, • Means to improve the operational effectiveness of UAS, • An assessment of potential methods for UAS rotor and propeller noise reduction including human response in the design cycle, • A review and assessment of the role of new materials and computational tools in the development of quiet and efficient propellers and rotors, and • Recommendation of directions for future research and development.

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