UAV Hingeless Flight Controls Via Active Flow Control

Period of Performance: 06/06/2006 - 10/14/2010


Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Aeroprobe Corp.
200 Technology Dr
Christiansburg, VA 24073
Principal Investigator


Limitations of conventional hinged aerodynamic platform controls have sparked interest in new hingeless systems, where control is effected through use of synthetic jet actuators and pneumatic circulation control. These new systems advantages are augmentation of the conventional flight control envelope leading to increased maneuverability and survivability, decreased weight and a decrease in radar signature during controls actuation. The proposed integrated flow/flight control system (IFFC) based on hingeless flight control uses both leading-edge and trailing edge pneumatic actuation (SJA and/or continuous) coupled with a novel control system that employs multi-layered neural networks (MLNN) and radial basis functions (RBF) to give global and distributed control, with aggregate input from sensor measurements distributed over the platform. The challenge will be to properly model the aerodynamics and actuators on the proposed UAV flight platform,capturing the inherent physics of the system. Experience and current work with similar actuator and control systems will provide invaluable leverage to achieve the goal of full hingeless control on a small UAV platform.