Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics

First Advisor

Mark F. Reeder, PhD.


Considerable research and investigation has been conducted on the aerodynamic performance, and the predominate flow physics of the Manduca Sexta size of biomimetically designed and fabricated wings as part of the AFIT FWMAV design project. Despite a burgeoning interest and research into the diverse field of flapping wing flight and biomimicry, the aerodynamics of flapping wing flight remains a nebulous field of science with considerable variance into the theoretical abstractions surrounding aerodynamic mechanisms responsible for aerial performance. Traditional FWMAV flight models assume a form of a quasi-steady approximation of wing aerodynamics based on an infinite wing element model (BEM). An accurate estimation of the lift, drag, and side force coefficients is a critical component of autonomous stability and control models. This research focused on two separate experimental avenues into the aerodynamics of AFIT's engineered hawkmoth wings---forces and flow visualization.

AFIT Designator


DTIC Accession Number