Title page for ETD etd-17616979652211

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Feldman, Michael A.
URN etd-17616979652211
Title Efficient Low-Speed Flight in a Wind Field
Degree Master of Science
Department Aerospace and Ocean Engineering
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Durham, Wayne C.
Lutze, Frederick H. Jr.
Cliff, Eugene M. Committee Chair
  • optimization
  • optimal control
  • aircraft performance
Date of Defense 1996-07-24
Availability unrestricted
A new software tool was needed for flight

planning of a high altitude, low speed

unmanned aerial vehicle which would be

flying in winds close to the actual airspeed of

the vehicle. An energy modeled NLP

formulation was used to obtain results for a

variety of missions and wind profiles. The

energy constraint derived included terms due

to the wind field and the performance index

was a weighted combination of the amount of

fuel used and the final time. With no emphasis

on time and with no winds the vehicle was

found to fly at maximum lift to drag velocity,

Vmd. When flying in tail winds the velocity

was less than Vmd, while flying in head winds

the velocity was higher than Vmd. A family of

solutions was found with varying times of

flight and varying fuel amounts consumed

which will aid the operator in choosing a flight

plan depending on a desired landing time. At

certain parts of the flight, the turning terms in

the energy constraint equation were found to

be significant. An analysis of a simpler vertical

plane cruise optimal control problem was

used to explain some of the characteristics of

the vertical plane NLP results.

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