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27 April 2007 Perching aerodynamics and trajectory optimization
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Advances in smart materials, actuators, and control architecture have enabled new flight capabilities for aircraft. Perching is one such capability, described as a vertical landing maneuver using in-flight shape reconfiguration in lieu of high thrust generation. A morphing, perching aircraft design is presented that is capable of post stall flight and very slow landing on a vertical platform. A comprehensive model of the aircraft's aerodynamics, with special regard to nonlinear affects such as flow separation and dynamic stall, is discussed. Trajectory optimization using nonlinear programming techniques is employed to show the effects that morphing and nonlinear aerodynamics have on the maneuver. These effects are shown to decrease the initial height and distance required to initiate the maneuver, reduce the bounds on the trajectory, and decrease the required thrust for the maneuver. Perching trajectories comparing morphing versus fixed-configuration and stalled versus un-stalled aircraft are presented. It is demonstrated that a vertical landing is possible in the absence of high thrust if post-stall flight capabilities and vehicle reconfiguration are utilized.
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Adam Wickenheiser and Ephrahim Garcia "Perching aerodynamics and trajectory optimization", Proc. SPIE 6525, Active and Passive Smart Structures and Integrated Systems 2007, 65250O (27 April 2007);

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