According to Mr. Eric Peddicord, Project Engineer with the Naval Research Laboratories (NRL),
the Tarzan (NRL-" Dakota II Project") set a new laboratory record for altitude and down-range
control of an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle. The NRL team was in Georgia to demonstrate the aircraft’s
capabilities at a five day military exercise. The Tarzan was one of five other UAVs to be flown
and demonstrated at the exercise.
For three days, all flights were scrubbed due to heavy rain and thunderstorms. On the fourth day, the option to fly was left in the hands of each team as the weather was still not very amenable. Two other UAV teams refused to fly, two attempted flight but their aircraft became damaged and terminated their flights quickly. NRL was the only team to successfully launch and operate their UAV.
To escape the high winds and damaging rain, the NRL crew took the aircraft to a record altitude and flew the craft to a record down-range control distance from the ground control location. After dodging thunderheads and wind gusts, the Tarzan was brought back to home base and successfully landed without incident. The only damage that the aircraft sustained was some chipping of the paint on the leading edge of the flight surfaces and cowling nose bowl.
The NRL crew was initially unsure of how the Tarzan would "hold up" under the stressful flight conditions, but had to put the aircraft into the air to accomplish the task at hand. The structure proved to be everything promised, and more!