Rapid Prototyping as a Tool to Support Wind Tunnel Testing of Unconventional Unmanned Airships
Scaled models are often used to check the aerodynamic performance of full scale aircraft and airship concepts, which have gone through a conceptual and preliminary design process. Results from these tests can be quite useful to improve the design of unconventional airships whose aerodynamics might be quite different from classical configurations. Once the airship geometry has been defined, testing is required to acquire aerodynamic data necessary to implement the mathematical model of the airship needed by the flight control system to develop full autonomous capabilities. Rapid prototyping has the great potential of playing a beneficial role in unconventional autonomous airship design similarly to the success obtained in the design process of conventional aircrafts.