Tech Briefs

Designs of micro aerial vehicles can now be compared more systematically.

The Air Force Research Laboratory has promulgated the geometrical design of a miniature airplane denoted the Generic Micro Aerial Vehicle (GENMAV). This design is intended to serve as a baseline for analyses of geometrical designs of other micro aerial vehicles (MAVs). As such, the GENMAV design is meant to be distributed openly among organizations engaged in research and development pertaining to MAVs. The need for the GENMAV or a similar standard of comparison has become more acute in recent years because of the increasing interest in the use of MAVs [a subset of uninhabited aerial vehicles (UAVs)] for diverse purposes, especially in military, law-enforcement, and rescue activities.

The GENMAV Design is a mostly conventional geometric design for an airplane, incorporating features chosen to facilitate analysis.
The GENMAV (see figure) features a high wing configuration, a fuselage having a circular cross section, and a conventional tail. The overall length of the fuselage is 17.00" (43.18 cm); the wingspan is 23.77" (60.38 cm). The circular cross section of the fuselage was chosen over other cross sections to facilitate analysis of its aerodynamic characteristics. Although the design at the present stage of development does not include a specification for an engine and a propeller, it is assumed that a tractor propeller is located at the front end of the fuselage and that the center line of the engine and propeller coincides with the center line of the fuselage.

The GENMAV wings are characterized by a thin airfoil configuration and a planform that are modified versions of those of a prior MAV design. The wings have a positive dihedral angle of 7° and are oriented at an angle of incidence of 5°. A saddle structure makes a smooth transition between the wings and the fuselage. The tail assembly features conventional horizontal and vertical stabilizers. The conventional tail configuration facilitates analysis in that many established methods for predicting aerodynamic effects of actuation of tail control surfaces are based on this configuration. The chord lengths of the rudder and elevator are approximately 25 percent of tip chord lengths of their respective stabilizers. The rudder and elevators lie parallel to their respective trailing edges.

An initial estimate of the aerodynamic characteristics of the GENMAV was made by use of an aeroprediction computer code that implements a vortex lattice method. At the time of reporting the information for this article, wind-tunnel testing of a prototype GENMAV was in progress. It is planned to do a more thorough analysis of the aerodynamics of the GENMAV, utilizing results of both wind-tunnel tests and computational simulations. It is also planned to perform flight tests of the prototype GENMAV. Data from initial flight tests are to be recorded and analyzed to define maximum and minimum airspeeds and to characterize the handling qualities of the GENMAV in roll, pitch, and yaw. Further flight tests are to be performed to document the flying qualities of the GENMAV. Data from the flight tests are to be used to establish a control point, to which modified versions of the MAV can be compared. Data from the flight tests can also be used to validate a six degree of freedom simulation currently under development.

This work was done by Kelly Stewart, Jeffrey Wagener, and Gregg Abate of the Air Force Research Laboratory and Max Salichon of Oregon State University.

AFRL-0051

This Brief includes a Technical Support Package (TSP).

Generic Miniature Airplane for Research and Development (reference AFRL-0051) is currently available for download from the TSP library.

Please Login at the top of the page to download.