Date of Graduation
Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources
Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
The primary objectives of this research are to mathematically model the propulsion forces applied to the aircraft during nominal, differential thrust, and thrust vectored flight configurations, and verify this modeling through simulation and flight testing experiments. This thesis outlines the modeling process, simulator development, design, and implementation of a propulsion assisted control system for the WVU Flight Control Systems Lab (FCSL) research aircraft. Differential thrust and thrust vectoring introduce additional propulsive terms in the aircraft force equations that are not present when the thrust line passes through the center of gravity. These additional forces were modeled and incorporated into a simulator of the research aircraft. The effects from differential thrust were small and difficult to quantify. The thrust vectoring effects were also found to be small with the elevator having significantly more pitch control over the vectored motors at the simulated flight conditions.;Differential thrust was implemented using the on-board computer to command a different thrust level to each motor. The desired thrust differential was programed into a flight scheme based on simulation data, and activated during flight via a control switch on the transmitter. The thrust vectoring mechanism was designed using SolidWorksRTM, built and tested outside of the aircraft, and finally incorporated into the aircraft. A high torque servo was used to rotate the motor mounting bar and vector the motors to a desired deflection. Utilizing this mechanism, the thrust vectoring was flight tested, mimicking scenarios tested in simulation. The signal to noise ratio was very low, making it difficult to identify the small changes in the aircraft parameters caused by the vectored thrust.
Merceruio, Zachary J., "Modeling and flight testing of differential thrust and thrust vectoring on a small UAV" (2011). Graduate Theses, Dissertations, and Problem Reports. 291.