Measurements and performance prediction of an adaptive wing micro air vehicle

S. Shkarayev, W. Jouse, W. Null, M. Wagner

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


The mission space requirements imposed on the design of micro air vehicles (MAVs) typically consist of several distinct flight segments that generally conflict: the transit phases of flight require high speeds, while the loiter/surveillance phase requires lower flight velocities. Maximum efficiency must be sought in order to prolong battery life and aircraft endurance. The adaptive wing MAV developed at the University of Arizona features a thin, deformable flying wing with an efficient rudder-elevator control system. The wing camber is varied to accommodate different flight speeds while maintaining a constant total lift at a relatively low angle of attack. A new airfoil was developed from the Selig 5010 that features a small negative pitching moment for pitch stability. Wind tunnel tests were performed and stall angles and best lift-to-drag ratios were analyzed from the data. The wind tunnel data was used in a performance analysis in order to determine the flight speeds and throttle settings for maximum endurance at each camber, as well as the MAVs theoretical minimum and maximum flight speeds. The effectiveness of camber change on flight speed and endurance was examined with promising results; flight speed could be reduced by 25% by increasing the camber from 3 to 9% without any increase in power consumption.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)53-65
Number of pages13
JournalProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
StatePublished - 2003
EventSmart Structures and Materials 2003: Industrial and Commercial Applications of Smart Structures Technologies - San Diego, CA, United States
Duration: Mar 4 2003Mar 6 2003


  • Adaptive wing
  • Deformable wing
  • Flying wing
  • Low Reynolds number
  • MAY
  • Micro air vehicle
  • R/C
  • Reconnaissance
  • Surveillance
  • Variable camber

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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