An overview of experiments on the dynamic sensitivity of MAVs to turbulence

Simon Watkins, Mark Thompson, Mark Shortis, Reuven Segal, Mujahid Abdulrahim, John Sheridan

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13 Citations (Scopus)


Aspects of the turbulent wind environment Micro Air Vehicles (MAVs) experience when flying outdoors were replicated in a large wind tunnel. An overview of the facility, instrumentation and initial flight tests is given. Piloting inputs and aircraft accelerations were recorded on fixed and rotary wing MAVs and for some tests, measurements of the approach flow (u,v,w sampled at 1,250Hz at four laterally disposed upstream locations) were made. The piloting aim was to hold straight and level flight in the 12m wide × 4m high × ∼50m long test section, while flying in a range of turbulent conditions. The Cooper-Harper rating system showed that a rotary craft was less sensitive to the effects of turbulence compared to the fixed wing craft and that while the fixed wing aircraft was relatively easy to fly in smooth air, it became extremely difficult to fly under high turbulence conditions. The rotary craft, while more difficult to fly per. se., did not become significantly harder to fly in relatively high turbulence levels. However the rotary craft had a higher mass and MOI than the fixed wing craft and further work is planned to understand the effects of these differences.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)485-492
Number of pages8
JournalAeronautical Journal
Issue number1158
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2010

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