Aeromechanics, Flight Dynamics and Control of a Revolutionary Tube-Launched Rotorcraft
(Sponsor: Army Research Laboratory)
The development of efficient, maneuverable, gust tolerant, and sustained hover-capable micro air vehicle (MAV) platforms with expanded flight envelope is the key to the success of many military ISR missions. However, today’s MAVs are heavily constrained in terms of hover endurance (< 20 minutes), operating altitude, and range primarily because of the low energy density of the batteries. Even though improving the endurance is still a significant barrier, the altitude and range of operation of the MAVs could be dramatically increased if the vehicle could be launched as a projectile and thereby not expending any of the stored energy in the vehicle to reach the point of operation. This would also help the vehicle reach the operating point much faster.
Demonstration of a test vehicle using thrust vector control for sustained flight
The final deliverables will be (1) highly optimized tube-launched rotorcraft design with principled understanding of the aeromechanics, flight dynamics and control and proof-of-concept prototypes with capabilities demonstrated through flight testing, and (2) data from flight dynamic simulations, performance measurements and flight testing.
Students involved with the development of this project are: Hunter Denton, Grant McCurdy, and Grant Erickson.