The aircraft’s composites manufacturer and aeromechanical engineer share how they overcame the odds. The HAI@Work webinar on Apr. 29 was quite literally out of this world. Some of the great minds that enabled a helicopter to fly on another planet joined HAI President Jim Viola at the event. The three presenters shared the process, design considerations, trials, and eventual success of creating rotor blades that let Ingenuity, the Mars Helicopter, fly on the Red Planet: Eric Howard, aerospace sales director, North America, Toray Advanced Composites Sean Johnson, thermosets product manager, Toray Advanced Composites Ben Pipenberg, aeromechanical engineer, AeroVironment. As of the time of the webinar, Ingenuity had flown three times on Mars, performing beyond expectations and the tests performed on Earth. The successful flights were no small feat: the atmosphere on Mars is 1% that on Earth, making a simple 16-foot flight off the surface equivalent to flying at 100,000 feet at home. The secret to the aircraft’s success lay in large part in the unique design of its oversized blades. Howard, Pipenberg, and Johnson shared fascinating details about Ingenuity’s design iterations as well as what was needed in the advanced composites chosen for the blades. The presentation included several notable points about the

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