Experimental method for studying gust effects on micro rotorcraft

Micro rotorcraft have a great potential for both civilian and military applications, but for successful deployment, they must operate robustly in real-world environments including flight in winds. Due to their small size, common wind fields in and around buildings can represent a large percentage of the vehicle’s full flight envelope resulting in highly non-linear motion. An experimental method has been developed to evaluate the capabilities of micro rotorcraft in realistic wind conditions to aid in the design and evaluation of these vehicles. A synthetic wind generation system is used to create repeatable and controllable gust excitations, and a motion capture system is used for precise measurement of vehicle response. Performance metrics associated with the accuracy of position tracking and angular rate excursions are proposed to quantify vehicle capabilities at different excitation levels for design assessment and cross-platform comparison. To demonstrate the experimental method, test results are shown to evaluate the capabilities of a micro coaxial helicopter in realistic winds as a function of gust excitation level and vehicle size. For this example system, light wind gusts degrade hover hold accuracy by a factor of 3 compared to a situation with quiescent winds.


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  • Accession Number: 01482750
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: May 10 2013 3:15PM