Development of a cantilevered rotor-based meso-cyclocopter
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 stable hovering flight.
7th AHS Technical Meeting on VTOL Unmanned Aircraft Systems and Autonomy
author list (cited authors)
Runco, C., Coleman, D., & Benedict, M.
complete list of authors
Runco, C||Coleman, D||Benedict, M