Fig. 1—An early iteration on the robust, modular airframe redesign

Design of an Ornithopter for Flight Testing

The flapping wing flight test vehicles that we currently utilize for our research are commercially available. While they fly very well and have many favorable characteristics, they are not designed as flight research platforms and so can be difficult to work with in the field as research platforms. This vehicle design effort focuses on taking the lessons we have learned from our extensive flight testing and incorporating the necessary changes into the vehicle design that will make flight research in the field easier to perform. The effort focuses on making the airframe more resilient in order to increase vehicle life span during the sometimes rough landings that occur as we push the flight envelope. The design effort also focuses on making the vehicle components more modular to enable rapid experimentation and trouble shooting in the field. A further objective of the project is to enable Morpheus lab to produce all of the necessary vehicle components in-house so that we avoid having our research effort shut down due to lack of parts availability or ordering delays.

Primary Project Objectives

  • A fully redesigned flight test vehicle
  • Technical drawings
  • Specifications
  • A fully detailed instruction manual on how to manufacture, assemble, and utilize the vehicle during flight testing operations