Robust attitude control is an essential aspect of research on autonomous flight of flapping wing Micro Air Vehicles. The mechanical solutions by which the necessary control moments are realised come at the price of extra weight and possible loss of aerodynamic efficiency. Stable flight of these vehicles has been shown by several designs using a conventional tail, but also by tailless designs that use active control of the wings. In this study a control mechanism is proposed that provides active control over the wings. The mechanism improves vehicle stability and agility by generation of control moments for roll, pitch and yaw. Its effectiveness is demonstrated by static measurements around all the three axes. Flight test results confirm that the attitude of the test vehicle, including a tail, can be successfully controlled in slow forward flight conditions. Furthermore, the flight envelope is extended with robust hovering and the ability to reverse the flight direction using a small turn space. This capability is very important for autonomous flight capabilities such as obstacle avoidance. Finally, it is demonstrated that the proposed control mechanism allows for tailless hovering flight.
- attitude estimation and control
- control mechanism
- flapping wing
- micro air vehicle