Improved Multibody Model of Flexible Wing 2013-01-2265
In the development of High Altitude Long Endurance (HALE) UAVs and their control the flexibility of the wing must be taken into account. The wing of this type of UAVs, usually made of highly flexible composite materials, has high aspect ratio with significant bending-torsional deformation during flight. The NASA Helios, as an example, has tragically shown that wing deformation coupled with control and power operation can cause serious problem in flight, instability can suddenly occur and can be quite difficult to foresee. In this paper the mathematical description of a flexible wing multibody model is presented. It is suitable to simulate the effect of both structural flexibility and flight dynamics and maneuvering on the wing deformation, and can be used to help developing control strategies for air vehicles with highly deformable wings. The paper will present simulation results for a typical HALE (High Altitude Long Endurance) wing with control surfaces and the effect of flexibility on the flight dynamic will be explored.