Development of a 100-gram micro-cyclocopter capable of autonomous hover Conference Paper uri icon


  • This paper describes the design, development and hover testing of a cycloidal-rotor aircraft (cyclo-copter) at Micro Air Vehicle (MAV) scale (100 grams). Cycloidal rotor (cyclorotor) is a revolutionary vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) concept, which has a horizontal axis of rotation with the blade span parallel to axis and cyclically pitching as it goes around the azimuth to produce a net thrust. The present cyclocopter has a hybrid configuration with two cyclorotors rotating in the same direction and a horizontal tail rotor, which is used to counteract the pitch-up moment produced by the cyclorotors. The independent rotational speed control of the three rotors along with the thrust vectoring capability of cyclorotors make the twin-rotor cyclocopter a highly maneuverable and versatile MAV. An innovative light-weight and high strength-to-weight ratio blade design along with a simplified passive blade pitching mechanism enabled the development of an extremely light-weight cyclorotor, which is the key to the success of the present vehicle. An effective control strategy was developed using a combination of rpm control and thrust vectoring to successfully decouple pitch, roll, and yaw controls. Due to the fast vehicle dynamics, a closed-loop feedback controls system implemented through a 1.5 gram onboard processor-sensor board was essential for the stable flight of the vehicle. The present 110 gram twin cyclocopter is smallest cyclocopter in the history to perform a stable autonomous hover. Copyright 2012 by the National Aerospace Laboratory. All rights reserved.

published proceedings

  • 38th European Rotorcraft Forum 2012, ERF 2012

author list (cited authors)

  • Shrestha, E., Benedict, M., Hrishikeshavan, V., & Chopra, I.

complete list of authors

  • Shrestha, E||Benedict, M||Hrishikeshavan, V||Chopra, I

publication date

  • December 2012