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Leng3 Aeronautical Engineering Group Department of Mechanical Engineering National University of Singapore

Abstract This study is centered primarily about two main objectives with the first one being the complete structural reconstruction and aerodynamic data generation of a pre-existent Unmanned Flying Wing Air Vehicle with inadequate contractors’ aerodynamic and stability data, construction specifications and knowledge of materials used. With this accomplished we then focus on further aerodynamic analysis and scientific modification to the original design and power plant to enable the platform to carry additional payloads of an autonomous navigation system and a real time operating camera to meet various practical mission requirements. The paper describes in detail the systematic reverse engineering procedure adopted to analyze and synthesize the entire model. Some of the techniques adopted are 3D Laser profile scanning of the reflex airfoil and fuselage, material research and selection and cost effective reconstruction of the non-conventional airfoil. We also present weight and balance matching techniques , the usage of commercially available CFD programmes to generate aero coefficients and forces and estimate the aircraft’s aerodynamic center, results of the extensive verification flight tests conducted and performance matching procedures used in general of the reverse engineered craft to the existing UAV flying wing model.

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guidance systems. i. payloads etc.e. and microelectronics. possible. This breaks the chain of development and it is required therefore to do a fair amount of reverse engineering to determine a good estimate of these required data. classical aerodynamic concepts for fixed wing aircraft become impractical at the reduced scale of MAV’s. controls. The usual method of developing an aircraft is to decide what the mission requirements of the new aircraft are. conventional methods of testing and analysis may not apply to this UAV as it is much smaller and 2 . Moreover. Micro Air Vehicles (MAV). finding an aerofoil shape specific to it by testing. Hence the special attention of this paper to the reverse engineering and aerodynamics of a miniature Flying Wing the Golden Eagle. have made commercially viable miniature autonomous flying vehicles. Most of the current concepts and prototypes attempt to scale down traditional aircraft design to meet defense specifications. propulsion systems. only a physical model of the UAV was given without adequate contractor’s aerodynamic propulsion and stability data. do a sizing and performance optimization and integrate it together with the other parts of the aircraft. However.Nomenclature CL CD Cm c Coefficient of Lift Coefficient of Drag Coefficient of Moment Chord Length d h S M Ω µ Horizontal distance Height Wing Area Mass of craft Greek α Angle of Attack θ Angle of Pitch Glide Angle Relative Density Introduction Recent technological advances in the areas of propulsion. However.

These control the pitching and rolling on this UAV. New methods may have to be developed by trial and evaluation. its unconventional airfoil structure was carefully analyzed and pre-existent aerodynamic theories have been adapted to suit it where possible. Shape of the UAV (rear view) Figure. acting as a pair of winglets to provide lateral stability to the aircraft. Description of the UAV The UAV given is basically a flying wing but with a central fuselage that follows the reflex airfoil shape longitudinally and adapts to the curved ‘M’ shaped.1. tip to tip wing layout when viewed from the back. Neither exactly a Sweptback wing or a Delta wing. a speed controller and a rear pusher propeller unit.5 kgs and fly at speeds up to 20 m/s. These are the left and right elevons found at the ends of the wings of the aircraft. Figure.2. Its fuselage is specifically designed to house 4 Lithium batteries. 3 . The given UAV The wing tips are angled upwards at about 30 degrees to the horizontal to compensate for the lack of the rudder surfaces.. there are only two control surfaces on the UAV. Effectively. (Figure 1) The entire aircraft (modular wings and fuselage) is constructed using ultra-light weight composite Kevlar fibre. The craft is estimated to be able to carry a payload of 1.slower than normal aircraft.

Non-Contact-3D Digitizer Image Laser scanner. Plot linearization and CAD editing was needed to marginalize the inaccuracy inherent in scanning. which we then assembled and merged using the commercial scan programme RapidFormTM 2002. Hence. using the Minolta. we had to generate a full 3 Dimensional CAD model of the craft from scratch.Reverse Modeler Version. Figure.3D Mesh Generation Unable to match this particular wing with any of the standard NACA airfoils present. we photographed the entire wing profile and fuselage with a tolerance of ±1.3. VIVID 900. Working with the photographed scattered points. With the simplistic construction drawings provided we could not accurately determine the wing curvature at the concave leading edge and at the convex tail. we had to systematically connect each coordinate to attain the complex curves on the wing.5 mm. 3-D Laser scanning and Reverse aerofoil CAD modeling procedure 4 .

The entire CAD model was also imported into GAMBITTM. balsa. low cost and ease of availability. and modified to avoid any skewed edges before generating FLUENT compatible 3D surface and volumetric meshes.5.4. All components were determined to be modular and are to break away during impact. 3-D Volumetric Mesh Figure . CAD model of the UAV Structural Construction Because design development was heavily dependent on flight-testing. cardboards. and precision of manufacturing and repair was a fundamental process we had to before development could begin. superior strength-to-weight ratio. This ensures minimal damage and hence reducing repair costs and time. Various materials such as low and high density foam.crucial consideration for a UAV without landing gear mechanisms. the ease. Figure. 5 .The model was then sectioned and sliced at critical intervals to obtain the exact structural coordinates to be used to design and construct the wings. a mesh preprocessing programme. speed. CFRP also displays excellent mechanical properties upon impact. paper march’es and laminate resins together with different manufacturing processors were experimented with and finally we singled out single ply bi-directionally laid tissue carbon fiber (CFRP) as the desired material for the wing and body because of its high rigidity. stiff ¼-1/2 in.

It is first converted to a STEP file and a volumetric mesh is generated using GAMBIT™ to be compatible with FLUENT™ a commercially available Computational Fluid Dynamic (CFD) programme. % 99. Fabricated CFRP right wing’s top shell Estimation of Aerodynamic Coefficients and Forces To derive the aerodynamic derivatives. The Flying wing is subsonic UAV operating at low 6 . The carbon fiber framework was then laid on the molds and covered with a thin layer of synthetic polymer (Ethylene Glycol.Reusable male and female clay molds were created and checked for consistency against the acquired wing curvature dimensions. Figure. gave a smoother and more even exterior finish compared to the conventional method of brushing on the polyester.9 . wt.Polyester). maintaining symmetry in weight. This ensures an even distribution of resin throughout the cast. This procedure we discovered. The entire manufacturing process is highly repeatable with the usage of durable and reusable molds and cost effective readily available materials. Specifically measured quantities of resin were applied equally on each of the two wings. with the mold propped vertically up.6. Pouring of the resin on the fiber. It was then allowed to drip and air dry in an enclosed area.7. we use the CAD model of the UAV we reverse engineered. The viscous resin was poured down on the wing. Figure.

making it simpler to assume a laminar case rather then a turbulent scenario. CL vs Angle of Attack 1. To derive the PID gains for the UAV. CFD Static Pressure Profile Plot The coefficients attained were put into the equations of motions of the aircraft.8 0. using the transfer functions that were derived. angle of attack and sideslip.4 0.3 AOA in rad 0. MATLAB™ was used to find the gains.2 0. Figure.1 0.6 7 .2 0 0 0.8. and the transfer functions of the UAV were derived.Reynold’s Numbers hence we ignored compressibility effects for the lift and drag models and modeled laminar flow conditions sighting the fact our craft operates close to the transition region.5 0.4 1. an optimization was done to find the optimal gains for the UAV.2 1 CL 0. In FLUENT™. we set up numerous models with different boundary conditions to find how the UAV reacted to changes in speed.4 0.6 0.

The aerodynamic plots obtained are reflective of a flying wing UAV aircraft. The general shapes of the graphs are very similar to conventional airfoils and the aerodynamic forces obtained are logical too. Using simple geometric summation and parallel axis theorem. and the moments and products of inertia. center of mass (or center of gravity). We weighed each component individually and marked out their CG respectively. In general the term “weight and balance” refers to the mass properties of an aircraft and the resulting stability or lack thereof as a consequence of its mass properties. These will be experimentally verified in glide tests. Estimation of CG and Inertias of Mass Since the entire Flying wing model is fabricated using different materials from that used in the original prototype. equal zero. and the total weight or gravity force can be represented as acting at this point. the combined CG position of the craft was found. Therefore this point represents a balancing point for the whole craft. we need to do a comprehensive weight and balance analysis. CG is the point (or centroid) of the craft about which moments summed. The term “mass properties” usually includes the following values: volume (or mass or weight). due to the mass of the object. 8 .

Fine tuning of this exact location is to be done during the trimming routine to attain longitudinal stability after glide tests. the conventional method of CG determination was employed . transmitter) 100g 65g 55g Batteries (9-volt. are also referred to as “second moment” equations. In the case of the I . The equations for moment of inertia. servo card. This is due to the squared moment arm that multiplies each infinitesimal volume during the integration.the entire assembled model was mounted on a pivot and shifted accordingly to attain the mass centre of the craft. this squared 2 2 distance is y + z . 50 mAh NiCd) Micro Pilot Card & Cables Structure Total 350g 29g 750g 1469g Table 1: Equipment and weights Figure 9. The same method is used for the other moments of inertia. and due to the Pythagorean Theorem. Pusher Propeller Unit Radio control electronics (two servo motors. as per equations (1)-(6).2 We must assume that each 9 . Conventional CG balancing The remaining of the payload was then strategically positioned within the fuselage to shift the CG to the desired position before the aerodynamic centre.To experimentally verify our calculations. We can approximate the Inertias with the geometric summation of the various components of different masses in the structure. RC receiver) Video electronics (camera. the distance from the xxx axis is the moment arm to be squared.

0911 = = −0. Cmα < 0 & Cm 0 > 0 Cmα − 0. the gradient is negative and the graph intersects the xaxis on the positive end.0985 (7) (8) As shown in our Cm vs α curve. The Cmα / CLα calculation tells us where our aerodynamic centre lies. we obtain the Inertia Tensor.0434 CLα 2. Thus. two conditions must be met for longitudinal stability. The negative value (8) tells us that the ac actually lies behind the CG location.c location calculated. the point where the moment acting on the body is independent of the angle of attack. For aircraft.component has a constant density and mass distribution throughout. we conclude that the neutral point too lies at the a. and since this is a flying wing with a comparatively small central fuselage which also rides the wing profile. 10 . Ixx = ∑ mi (Yi − Ycg ) + (Zi + Zcg ) 2 i =1 i=n i =1 i=n { 2 } 2 (1) (2) (3) (4) Symmetrical Aircraft (5) (6) Iyy = ∑ mi (Zi − Zcg ) + ( Xi − Xcg ) 2 { { } Izz = ∑ mi ( Xi − Xcg ) + (Yi − Ycg ) 2 i =1 i=n i =1 2 2 i =n { 2 } Ixy = ∑ mi ( Xi − Xcg ) (Yi − Ycg ) = 0 Iyz = ∑ mi (Yi − Ycg ) (Zi − Zcg ) = 0 2 2 i =1 i =n } { } 2 Izx = ∑ mi (Zi − Zcg ) ( Xi − Xcg ) 2 i =1 i =n { } Longitudinal Stability-Balancing of Pitching Moments Stability is a very important criterion in the design of aircraft.

11 . Lift vs Drag Ratio verification The glider's flight path is a simple straight line. lift and drag. Location of AC with respect to the CG Experimental Verification As flight-testing is an imperative step in the development any MAV design. The primary flight characteristics we aimed to validate via glide tests were stability. shown as the inclined black line in Figure11. h Ω d Figure. Ω.11.Figure. As removing the engine would have created an unrealistic mass distribution and a non-feathered propeller would have created an uncharacteristically large drag. the ability to evaluate test-flights was critical. The glide tests must be conducted with the engine installed and the propeller removed.10. The flight path intersects the ground at an angle a called the glide angle.

its yaw and lateral characteristics will also be closely assessed with easily interchangeable rudders of different configurations fitted on hand during testing.5 × C L × ρ × V × S D = 0 . As this craft also does not originally have a rudder. A working prototype has been designed. Computational Simulations have given the required aero coefficients. The MAV prototype will also be fitted with the dummy camera system and glide trials will continue to assess the trim and stability condition of the craft with this additional payload. Problems with the CFD and mold 12 . Inline with the second goal. The goal in trimming a flying wing is to get the center of gravity as far aft as possible and still maintain stable control over pitch. For the first loop of the design iteration. Concluding Remarks The project satisfies the two primary goals. Since the flying wing has very little tail moment there is a tendency for the wing to be very pitch sensitive.Horizontal Force Equation: L sin(Ω) = d cos(Ω) (9) (10) Ratio: LIFT 1 L d = = = DRAG D tan Ω h 2 L = 0 . a considerable achievement has been made.5 × C D × ρ × V × S 2 (11) L CL = D CD (12) We now would have verified our CFD simulated results of Drag and Lift forces and their respective coefficients. This will then allow further refinement of the Centre of Gravity position to achieve acceptable flying qualities. built and ready for flight testing on time and within the allocated budget. forces and moments which will be verified by flight tests.

National University of Singapore for granting me this rare opportunity and for his great encouragement and guidance all along the way.. so future students investigating MAV’s may easily replicate any wing form even when faced with a hard date-line.building highlighted the larger timescales involved with the preparation of a model mesh.Jan Roskam. Ackers Distinguished Professor of Aerospace Engineering. AIAA. Second Edition-1996 “ Tailess Aircraft in Theory and Practice”. ‘Aircraft Design: A conceptual approach’. Kansas. Acknowledgements I would like to sincerely thank my supervisor and mentor A/P Gerad Leng of the Department of Dynamics. 2) Dr. E. without them even engaging it. Education Series. Attempts have since been made to shorten the time needed to accomplish this task. Brown RN. Translated by Capt. Part Five: Component Weight Estimation” First Edition-1985 3) Daniel P Raymer. University of Kansas Lawerence. and the airfoil structure which had not been anticipated. Apart from the vast commercial viability of the reverse engineering procedures introduced in this paper. References 1) Karl Nickel and Michael Wohlahrt. flying it into the enemy ground. AIAA Education Series. where one side may be able to replicate a captured enemy drone (obviously with no supporting data) and reconfigure it to carry a micro-camera. they can also serve a crucial role in military and defense applications. “ Airplane Design. ISBN 1-5634/-281-0 13 ..

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