Archive for September, 2010

Matlab + AVL

Athena Vortex Lattice out of MIT is a great command line tool for analyzing the stability and control of an aircraft.  In developing the S&C for my senior design project I want to use AVL and Matlab together so for the past several hours I have been working on a matlab program that creates AVL models, tests them using AVL, and then loads the results data back into matlab.  The most basic version is now working (no control surfaces yet), but along the way there were some interesting bugs…


Senior Design and Relativity

After much anticipation this year’s senior design challenge has been unveiled.  For reference the “control system” mentioned is a piccolo II autopilot.


Each of the three teams was given a different configuration to use as mentioned by requirement 9.  My team’s configuration must either be a flying wing (one lifting surface) or have three lifting surfaces (canard, wing, elevator).

Although some parameters of the aircraft are well defined, others are a bit open ended.  For example, requirement 9 “Flight duration should be as long as possible.” begs the question how long is long enough?  This lead my to ask what endurance does my personal aircraft get.  My aircraft is a foam powered glider with a 2350 mah 3s1p battery.  Winds today were rather high, at times exceeding the cruise velocity of the aircraft.  Despite this I was able to achieve flight times of 37 minutes and 43 minutes.  Given the poor condition of my aircraft and the larger battery of our senior design aircraft I feel that we should be able to double that endurance at a minimum.

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