Volume 9, 2017Progress in Flight Physics
|Page(s)||3 - 24|
|Published online||20 June 2017|
Design of a high altitude long endurance flying-wing solar-powered unmanned air vehicle
University of Salford School of Computing, Science and Engineering Salford, Greater Manchester M5 4WT, U.K.
The low-Reynolds number environment of high-altitude §ight places severe demands on the aerodynamic design and stability and control of a high altitude, long endurance (HALE) unmanned air vehicle (UAV). The aerodynamic efficiency of a §ying-wing configuration makes it an attractive design option for such an application and is investigated in the present work. The proposed configuration has a high-aspect ratio, swept-wing planform, the wing sweep being necessary to provide an adequate moment arm for outboard longitudinal and lateral control surfaces. A design optimization framework is developed under a MATLAB environment, combining aerodynamic, structural, and stability analysis. Low-order analysis tools are employed to facilitate efficient computations, which is important when there are multiple optimization loops for the various engineering analyses. In particular, a vortex-lattice method is used to compute the wing planform aerodynamics, coupled to a twodimensional (2D) panel method to derive aerofoil sectional characteristics. Integral boundary-layer methods are coupled to the panel method in order to predict §ow separation boundaries during the design iterations. A quasi-analytical method is adapted for application to flyingwing con¦gurations to predict the wing weight and a linear finite-beam element approach is used for structural analysis of the wing-box. Stability is a particular concern in the low-density environment of high-altitude flight for flying-wing aircraft and so provision of adequate directional stability and control power forms part of the optimization process. At present, a modified Genetic Algorithm is used in all of the optimization loops. Each of the low-order engineering analysis tools is validated using higher-order methods to provide con¦dence in the use of these computationally-efficient tools in the present design-optimization framework. This paper includes the results of employing the present optimization tools in the design of a HALE, flying-wing UAV to indicate that this is a viable design configuration option.
© The Authors, published by EDP Sciences, 2017
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.