Simulator development for transition flight dynamics of a VTOL MAV

Diyang Chu, Jonathan Sprinkle, Ryan Randall, Sergey Shkarayev

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


This paper presents the simulation and validation of models for transition between forward flight and hover for a micro air vehicle (MAV). A dynamical simulation environment is developed, based on measured aerodynamic properties of a fixed-wing tail-sitter MAV with vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) capabilities. The simulator is validated against recorded flight data of transition from forward flight to hover using the physical platform. Specifically, the flight transition maneuver in the vertical plane (vertical-to-horizontal and horizontal-to-vertical) is studied in detail. The development and evaluation of a VTOL MAV called Mini-Vertigo 2 (MV2) is presented. A non-linear longitudinal dynamic model of MV2 flight is derived, and semi-empirical aerodynamic formulas for thrust, lift, drag and pitching moment based on wind tunnel testing are applied to the dynamic model. Nonlinearities during transition to/from hover are addressed, and (using the developed dynamic model) a numerical vehicle dynamic simulator is presented. The MV2 autopilot is discussed and flight test data are presented. Flight data from pitch-up maneuvers was compared to results of simulations. This comparison enables the future application of the simulation system throughout the flight envelope. This work presents a significant extension of [1].

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)69-89
Number of pages21
JournalInternational Journal of Micro Air Vehicles
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aerospace Engineering


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