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RC Aircraft Flights for Lightning Strike Research




16: Aeronautics and Astronautics

Faculty Supervisor:

Carmen Guerra-Garcia

Faculty email:


Apply by:

February 10 2020


Ben Martell: martellb@mit.edu

Project Description

Do you want to use your hobby to contribute to research? We need an experienced RC pilot to fly a 2 meter wing-span fixed-wing aircraft, that will be mounted with a system to electrically charge and discharge an aircraft in flight. The Aerospace Plasma’s group is doing hands-on research to investigate the static charging of aircraft. The objective of this project is to demonstrate that we can artificially control the electrostatic potential of the aircraft (~40 kV) using ion emission. The student will have the opportunity to develop the testing platform, which can include machining, low voltage and high voltage circuits and electronics, telemetry, and, of course, flying the research aircraft to collect data!


We are looking for one or two UROPs with piloting experience for RC fixed-wing aircraft. An interest in experimental, hands-on research. The UROP can be for credit or direct funding from the UROP office. Interested? Reach out to the contact above and include a resume and a few sentences about any prior RC airplane, electronics, hardware development, physics, and systems experience.