Filling a gap in UAS capability, and designed with direct input from scientists and field researchers, the VA002 features a large, modular, free-stream payload mount ideal for atmospheric sensors as well as imaging. The VA002 utilizes a robust airframe and electric propulsion to operate from unimproved terrain into hazardous aerial environments. High cruise and dash speeds also allow for useful operation above windy coastal and mountainous areas.
The VA002 proof-of-concept aircraft completed initial flight testing during Summer 2011, equipped with an airborne particle sensor provided by NASA.
As part of a team lead by Anasphere, Inc, Vanilla Aircraft worked to develop a miniature guided dropsonde for atmospheric sampling. The GlideSonde was designed to provide NASA a reliable and cost-effective means to deploy dropsondes into dangerous environments where few aircraft are able to safely venture. Vanilla's work included designing and prototyping the aerostructure, and conducting glide tests.