Energy requirements for the flight of micro air vehicles

M I Woods, J F Henderson, G D Lock

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

70 Citations (SciVal)


This paper describes power requirements for micro air vehicles, flying in the Reynolds number regime of similar to 10(5). Three flight modes have been researched: fixed wing, rotary wing and flapping wing. For each mode, the literature in the public domain has been reviewed to obtain appropriate lift and drag coefficient data at these low Reynolds numbers. Energy and power requirements for the three flight modes have been calculated and an optimisation procedure has been utilised to evaluate the most efficient flight mode and configuration for a variety of specified missions. The effect of wind-speed on the optimal solution has been examined. It has been discovered that when there is no hover requirement, fixed wing flight is always most energy efficient for the micro air vehicle. However, if there is a hover requirement, the suitability of flapping or rotary wing flight is dependent on the mission profile and ambient windspeed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)135-149
Number of pages15
JournalAeronautical Journal
Issue number1045
Publication statusPublished - 2001

Bibliographical note

ID number: ISI:000167498300004


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