PTERA is a scale 737 unmanned aerial vehicle with big implications for the world of commercial aircraft.
Created by aerospace engineering company Area-I in Georgia, PTERA is the unmanned Prototype-Technology Evaluation and Research Aircraft yielding inexpensive flight research for commercial aircraft and NASA, and it’s using 3D Printing in a few instrumental ways.
PTERA serves as a “bridge between wind tunnel and manned flight testing by enabling the low-cost, low-risk flight-based evaluation of a wide array of high risk technologies,” says Area-I’s CEO Dr. Nicholas Alley. This unmanned aircraft serves as a laboratory in which new aerodynamic technologies can be flown and tested for a “fraction of the cost of a manned flight test program,” says Alley. “It’s a testbed with a large payload capacity that facilitates risk-mitigating, flight-based evaluations of sensors, payloads, guidance and control systems, and advance