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Supermanoeuvrability in a biomimetic morphing-wing aircraft



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Pons, Arion Douglas  ORCID logo


In this work we study the supermanoeuvrability of a biomimetic morphing-wing case study aircraft system. Analytical and computational models of biomimetic flight dynamics are developed, utilising multibody dynamics, computational fluid dynamics, and reduced-order aerodynamic models; and validated with respect to experimentally-derived flight dynamics of a Pioneer RQ-2 UAV. These models are used to explore the capability of this system for a wide range of biological and other supermanoeuvres: multi-axis quasistatic nose-pointing-and-shooting (NPAS) / direct force capability; multi-axis rapid-nose-pointing-and-shooting (RaNPAS) including Pugachev’s cobra; ballistic transition; and anchor turning. Novel contributions include the development of transient aerodynamic models for a three-dimensional flight-simulation context; the development of novel methods for assessing transient model validity; the development of improved methods of quaternion variational integration; the development of quasi-trim and continuation-based methods for the design, exploration, analysis and control of manoeuvres in biomimetic morphing-wing systems; an assessment of the complex spiral mode stability effects present in asymmetrically-morphed system trim states; and a demonstration of the wide-ranging potential for advanced supermanoeuvrability in biomimetic morphing-wing systems. Industrial applications include the design of high-precision guided missiles for use in complex, e.g. urban, environments.





Cirak, Fehmi


supermanoeuvrability, biomimetic, morphing aircraft, UAV


Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Awarding Institution

University of Cambridge
Cambridge Commonwealth Prince of Wales Scholarship (Cambridge Trust)