Dynamics of Micro-Air-Vehicle with Flapping Wings

K. Sibilski


Small (approximately 6 inch long, or hand-held) reconnaissance micro air vehicles (MAVs) will fly inside buildings, and require hover for observation, and agility at low speeds to move in confined spaces. For this flight envelope insect-like flapping wings seem to be an optimal mode of flying. Investigation of the aerodynamics of flapping wing MAVs is very challenging. The problem involves complex unsteady, viscous flow (mainly laminar), with the moving wing generating vortices and interacting with them. At this early stage of research only a preliminary insight into the nature of the little known aerodynamics of MAVs has been obtained. This paper describes computational models for simulation of the controlled motion of a microelectromechanical flying insect – entomopter. The design of software simulation for entomopter flight (SSEF) is presented. In particular, we will estimate the flight control algorithms and performance for a Micromechanical Flying Insect (MFI), a 80–100 mm (wingtip-to-wingtip) device capable of sustained autonomous flight. The SSEF is an end-to-end tool composed of several modular blocks which model the wing aerodynamics and dynamics, the body dynamics, and in the future, the environment perception, control algorithms, the actuators dynamics, and the visual and inertial sensors. We present the current state of the art of its implementation, and preliminary results. 


micromechanical flying insect; entomopter aerodynamics; entomopter dynamics; insect flight; software simulator; insect aerodynamics; insect dynamics

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ISSN 1210-2709 (Print)
ISSN 1805-2363 (Online)
Published by the Czech Technical University in Prague