Technology for Dynamic Characterization of Micro-scale Aerial Vehicles
ABSTRACT: The design and development of Micro Aerial Vehicles (MAV) has moved from scaled down conventional aircraft configurations to biologically-inspired concepts structurally mimicking birds and insects. As this research has expanded, traditional aerodynamic analysis where rigid structures are assumed, appears not to have the fidelity required to understand forces on flexible structures. Many MAVs have appreciable deformation due to flexible lightweight airframe construction and some utilize this flexibility for enhanced control. During Phase I of this SBIR, Calspan took these issues into account and made contact with researchers / developers to obtain current and projected future requirements. The responses identified a large variation in desired capabilities. These parameters included expected load ranges for their MAV, required angle ranges, as well as rotational and translational rates. This information was then summarized to define a system that would be useful for the largest number of researchers and used to define the Phase II proposal. Phase II will develop, prototype, demonstrate and evaluate the support and measurement system in a wind tunnel approved by the AFRL sponsor. The Phase II demonstration and evaluation will include"Scripted"motion testing as well as simulated"Free-Flight"6 DOF testing. BENEFIT: At the conclusion of Phase II, the micro air vehicle research community will have the ability to perform various test techniques to develop a greater understanding of issues such as flexible aircraft dynamics, how to control flight at high angles-of-attack (e.g., 90 degrees ) for"perch"approaches and obstacle avoidance, evaluate flight characteristics of a parent MAV carrying micro-munitions, as well as investigating lift and control sensitivity to twisting or warping airfoils.
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