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Published August 2010 | Published
Book Section - Chapter Open

Flight Mechanics of a Tail-less Articulated Wing Aircraft


This paper explores the flight mechanics of a Micro Aerial Vehicle (MAV) without a vertical tail. The key to stability and control of such an aircraft lies in the ability to control the twist and dihedral angles of both wings independently. Specifically, asymmetric dihedral can be used to control yaw whereas antisymmetric twist can be used to control roll. It has been demonstrated that wing dihedral angles can regulate sideslip and speed during a turn maneuver. The role of wing dihedral in the aircraft's longitudinal performance has been explored. It has been shown that dihedral angle can be varied symmetrically to achieve limited control over aircraft speed even as the angle of attack and flight path angle are varied. A rapid descent and perching maneuver has been used to illustrate the longitudinal agility of the aircraft. This paper lays part of the foundation for the design and stability analysis of an agile flapping wing aircraft capable of performing rapid maneuvers while gliding in a constrained environment.

Additional Information

© 2010 American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Inc. This project was supported by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR) under the Young Investigator Award Program (Grant No. FA95500910089) monitored by Dr. W. Larkin. The original problem was posed by Dr. Gregg Abate (AFRL). This paper also benefitted from stimulating discussions with Mr. Johnny Evers (AFRL). Dr. Animesh Chakravarthy (Univ. of Florida REEF) provided useful feedback and comments from the very inception of this work, and helped refine the paper to the present state. The authors also thank undergraduate research assistants James Holtman, Joe Kim, Andrew Meister, Daniel Park and Jonathon Yong whose hard work resulted in an experimental MAV for evaluating the ideas described in this paper.

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August 19, 2023
August 19, 2023