Flight path planning in a turbulent wind environment

Uwe Fechner*, Roland Schmehl

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedings/Edited volumeChapterScientificpeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)
196 Downloads (Pure)


To achieve a high conversion efficiency and at the same time robust control of a pumping kite power system it is crucial to optimize the three-dimensional flight path of the tethered wing. This chapter extends a dynamic system model to account for a realistic, turbulent wind environment and adds a flight path planner using a sequence of attractor points and turn actions. Path coordinates are calculated with explicit geometric formulas. To optimize the power output the path is adapted to the average wind speed and the vertical wind profile, using a small set of parameters. The planner employs a finite state machine with switch conditions that are highly robust towards sensor errors. The results indicate, that the decline of the average power output of pumping kite power systems at high wind speeds can be mitigated. In addition it is shown, that reeling out towards the zenith after flying figure eight flight maneuvers significantly reduces the traction forces during reel-in and thus increases the total efficiency.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAirborne Wind Energy
Subtitle of host publicationAdvances in Technology Development
EditorsRoland Schmehl
Number of pages30
ISBN (Electronic)978-981-10-1947-0
ISBN (Print)9789811019463
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Publication series

NameGreen Energy and Technology
ISSN (Print)18653529
ISSN (Electronic)18653537

Bibliographical note

Green Open Access added to TU Delft Institutional Repository ‘You share, we take care!’ – Taverne project https://www.openaccess.nl/en/you-share-we-take-care Otherwise as indicated in the copyright section: the publisher is the copyright holder of this work and the author uses the Dutch legislation to make this work public.


Dive into the research topics of 'Flight path planning in a turbulent wind environment'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this