A Review of Bird-Inspired Flapping Wing Miniature Air Vehicle Designs

TitleA Review of Bird-Inspired Flapping Wing Miniature Air Vehicle Designs
Publication TypeConference Papers
Year of Publication2010
AuthorsGerdes JW, Gupta SK, Wilkerson SA
Date Published2010///
Conference LocationMontreal, Quebec, Canada
ISBN Number978-0-7918-4410-6

Physical and aerodynamic characteristics of the bird in flight may offer benefits over typical propeller or rotor driven miniature air vehicle (MAV) locomotion designs in certain types of scenarios. A number of research groups and companies have developed flapping wing vehicles that attempt to harness these benefits. The purpose of this paper is to report different types of flapping wing designs and compare their salient characteristics. For each category, advantages and disadvantages will be discussed. The discussion presented will be limited to miniature-sized flapping wing air vehicles, defined as 10–100 grams total weight. The discussion will be focused primarily on ornithopters which have performed at least one successful test flight. Additionally, this paper is intended to provide a representation of the field of current technology, rather than providing a comprehensive listing of all possible designs. This paper will familiarize a newcomer to the field with existing designs and their distinguishing features. By studying existing designs, future designers will be able to adopt features from other successful designs. This paper also summarizes the design challenges associated with the further advancement of the field and deploying flapping wing vehicles in practice.