Development and Flight Testing of a Meso-Scale Cyclopter Conference Paper uri icon


  • 2017 by Carl Runco, Moble Benedict. This paper describes the design, development and flight testing of a meso-scale cyclocopter. Weighing only 29 grams, the present vehicle is the smallest cycloidal rotor based aircraft ever built. Unlike the previous cyclocopters, the current prototype utilizes a novel, light weight (3 grams) cycloidal rotor design, with cantilevered blades, having semi-elliptical planform shape and no exposed rotor shaft. To minimize bending deflections the blades use a unique, lightweight (0.15 grams each) but high strength-to-weight ratio unidirectional carbon-fiber based structural design and are fabricated using a specialized manufacturing process. The cycloidal rotor design was chosen through systematic performance measurements conducted using a custom-built miniature three-component force balance. Based on experimental parametric studies, a 4-bladed rotor and symmetric blade kinematics with pitch amplitude of 45 provided the highest thrust and power loading (thrust/power) and was used in the final rotor design. The airframe is fabricated using a combination of carbon-fiber and state-of-the-art 3D printing techniques. The attitude control strategy utilizes a combination of rpm-control of the two cycloidal-rotors/tail-rotor and thrust vectoring of the cycloidal rotors. The control strategy is implemented on a custom-built 1.3 gram autopilot, which uses a closed-loop proportional-derivative controller for hover stability. The vehicle has been systematically flight tested by tuning the feedback gains and has demonstrated relatively stable hovering flight.

name of conference

  • 55th AIAA Aerospace Sciences Meeting

published proceedings

  • 55th AIAA Aerospace Sciences Meeting

author list (cited authors)

  • Runco, C. C., & Benedict, M.

citation count

  • 0

complete list of authors

  • Runco, Carl C||Benedict, Moble

publication date

  • January 1, 2017 11:11 AM