Flying on air: UAV flight testing with inflatable wing technology

Andrew Simpson, Arvind Santhanakrishnan, Jamey Jacob, Suzanne Smith, James Lumpp, Dave Cadogan, Matt Mackusick, Stephen Scarborough

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

39 Scopus citations

Abstract

The paper presents work on developing and flight testing UAVs with inflatable wing technology. Two concepts have been explored and flight-tested and are presented and discussed herein: inflatable wings and inflatable/rigidizable wings. In the former case, the wings are stowed in the fuselage and are inflated as needed. Constant pressure is required to maintain wing shape and structural stiffness. In the latter case, the wings are stowed in the fuselage, deploy when inflated, and rigidize with exposure to an external catalyst, in this case, UV radiation. Internal pressurisation is not required after rigidization is complete (less than 10 minutes). Manufacturing capability is the primary design constraint in choosing the wing profile and planform, but both current designs perform exceptionally well in low speed flight tests. Results from combined experimental and analytical investigations on multiple geometries are presented. Low altitude flight tests using the different wing concepts are discussed, as well as high altitude wing deployment tests. Finally, design considerations in vehicle configuration options are addressed when using inflatable wings.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCollection of Technical Papers - AIAA 3rd "Unmanned-Unlimited" Technical Conference, Workshop, and Exhibit
Pages855-869
Number of pages15
StatePublished - 2004
EventCollection of Technical Papers - AIAA 3rd "Unmanned-Unlimited" Technical Conference, Workshop, and Exhibit - Chicago, IL, United States
Duration: Sep 20 2004Sep 23 2004

Publication series

NameCollection of Technical Papers - AIAA 3rd "Unmanned-Unlimited" Technical Conference, Workshop, and Exhibit
Volume2

Conference

ConferenceCollection of Technical Papers - AIAA 3rd "Unmanned-Unlimited" Technical Conference, Workshop, and Exhibit
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityChicago, IL
Period9/20/049/23/04

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Engineering (all)

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