Performing Co-ordinated Turns with Articulated Wing-tips as Multi-axis Control Effectors

P Bourdin (Bristol University), A Gatto (Brunel University) & MI Friswell (Swansea University)

The Aeronautical Journal, Vol. 114, No. 1151, January 2010, pp. 35-47


This paper investigates a novel method for the control of aircraft. The concept consists of articulated split wing-tips, independently actuated and mounted on a baseline flying wing. The general philosophy behind the concept was that adequate control of a flying wing about its three axes could be obtained through local modifications of the dihedral angle at the wing-tips, thus providing an alternative to conventional control effectors such as elevons and drag rudders. Preliminary computations with a vortex lattice model and subsequent wind tunnel tests and Navier-Stokes computations demonstrate the viability of the concept for co-ordinated turns, with individual and/or combined wing-tip deflections producing multiaxis, coupled control moments. The multi-axis nature of the generated moments contribute to over-actuate the flight control system, leading to some redundancy, which could be exploited to optimise secondary objective functions such as drag or bending moment.

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This material has been published in the The Aeronautical Journal, Vol. 114, No. 1151, January 2010, pp. 35-47, the only definitive repository of the content that has been certified and accepted after peer review.

Link to paper using doi: 10.1017/S0001924000003511

The Aeronautical Journal