PurposeThe purpose of this paper is finding the optimal geometric parameters and developing of a method for optimizing a light unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) wing, maximizing, at the same time, its endurance with the assumed parameters of aircraft mission.Design/methodology/approachThe research is based on the experience gained by the author’s contribution to the project of building medium-altitude, long-endurance class, light UAV called “Samonit”. The author was responsible for the structure design, wind tunnel tests and flight tests of the “Samonit” aircraft. Based on the experience, the author was able to develop an optimization process considering various disciplines involved in the whole aircraft design topics such as aerodynamics, flight mechanics, structural stiffness and weight, aircraft stability and maneuverability. The presented methodology has a multidisciplinary nature, as in the process of optimization both aerodynamic aspects and the influence of wing geometric parameters on the wing structure and weight and the aircraft payload were taken into account. The optimal wing configuration was obtained using the genetic algorithms.FindingsAs a result, a set of wing geometrical parameters has been obtained that allowed for achieving twice as long endurance as compared with the initial one.Practical implicationsUsing the methodology presented in the paper, an aircraft designer can easily find the optimum wing configuration of a designed aircraft, satisfying the mission requirements in a best way.Originality/valueAn original procedure has been developed, based on the actual design, wind tunnel tests and numerical calculations of “Samonit” aircraft, enabling the determination of optimum wing configuration for a small unmanned aircraft.
Aircraft Engineering and Aerospace Technology – Emerald Publishing
Published: Jun 10, 2019
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