Small Hovering Fixed Wing UAS


Small fixed wing aircraft can have a thrust to weight ratio greater than one. This characteristic allows them to combine the hover capabilities of rotary wing platforms with the extended  range of conventional airplanes. The objective of this project is to develop an aircraft control system that enables the aircraft to fly at any airspeed ( zero airspeed at hover to the max airspeed at cruise).

The project uses an off-the-shelf airframe of Hangar 9® Funtana® 125 RC airplane equipped with an Athena II PC/104 SBC used for data acquisition and control command generation. The airplane is also equipped with static pressure sensors on the wings and stabilizers in order to allow real time calculation of the tail aerodynamic forces and moments and also wing stall identification. Multiport sensors for airspeed, angle-of-attack and sideslip angle computation are also mounted on the wing and on the fuselage in the prop-wash stream.

In addition to its use in this project, the Funtana® airframe is being set up to be used as test bed for other projects of the A2Sys Lab.


Video from the Pitch Controller Lab Tests


Project Personnel:

  • Jerry Lin
  • David Hershey
  • Kohei Harada
  • Sweewarman Balachandran
  • Pedro Donato
  • Derrick Yeo (alumnus)

Related Publications

  • D. Yeo, E. Atkins, L. Bernal, and W. Shyy, “Experimental Characterization of an Aerodynamic Sensing Scheme for Post-Stall Aerodynamic Moment Characterization,” Atmospheric Flight Mechanics Conference, AIAA, August 2013.
  • D. Yeo, J. Henderson, and E. Atkins, “An Aerodynamic Data System for Small Hovering Fixed-Wing UAS,” Guidance, Navigation, and Control Conference, AIAA, Chicago, IL, Aug. 2009.