Jackson, Justin Patrick (2008-08). Modelling and control of a symmetric flapping wing vehicle: an optimal control approach. Master's Thesis. Thesis uri icon


  • This thesis presents a method for designing a flapping wing stroke for a flapping
    wing vehicle. A flapping wing vehicle is a vehicle such as a bird or an insect that
    uses its wings for propulsion instead of a conventional propeller or a jet engine. The
    intent of this research is to design a wing stroke that the wings can follow which will
    maintain the vehicle at a desired longitudinal flight path angle and velocity. The
    cost function is primarily a function of the flight path angle error, velocity error
    and control rate. The objective maneuver is to achieve a flight condition similar to
    the trim of a conventional fixed wing aircraft. Gliding configurations of the vehicle
    are analyzed to better understand flight in minimal energy configurations as well as
    the modes of the vehicle. A control law is also designed using Lyapunov's direct
    method that achieves stable tracking of the wing stroke. Results are presented that
    demonstrate the ability of the method to design wing strokes that can maintain the
    vehicle at various flight path angles and velocities. The results of this research show
    that an optimal control problem can be posed such that the solution of the problem
    results in a wing stroke that a flapping wing vehicle can use to achieve a desired
    maneuver. The vehicle velocity is shown to be stable in controlled gliding flight and
    flapping flight.

publication date

  • August 2008
  • August 2008