Flight dynamics of a pterosaur-inspired aircraft utilizing a variable-placement vertical tail

Brian Roberts, Rick Lind, Sankar Chatterjee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations

Abstract

Mission performance for small aircraft is often dependent on the turn radius. Various biologically inspired concepts have demonstrated that performance can be improved by morphing the wings in a manner similar to birds and bats; however, the morphing of the vertical tail has received less attention since neither birds nor bats have an appreciable vertical tail. This paper investigates a design that incorporates the morphing of the vertical tail based on the cranial crest of a pterosaur. The aerodynamics demonstrate a reduction in the turn radius of 14% when placing the tail over the nose in comparison to a traditional aft-placed vertical tail. The flight dynamics associated with this configuration has unique characteristics such as a Dutch-roll mode with excessive roll motion and a skid divergence that replaces the roll convergence.

Original languageEnglish
Article number026010
JournalBioinspiration and Biomimetics
Volume6
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2011

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