Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics

First Advisor

Richard G. Cobb, PhD.


Micro air vehicles are vehicles with a maximum dimension of 15 cm or less, so they are ideal in confined spaces such as indoors, urban canyons, and caves. Considerable research has been invested in the areas of unsteady and low Reynolds number aerodynamics, as well as techniques to fabricate small scale prototypes. Control of these vehicles has been less studied, and most control techniques proposed have only been implemented within simulations without concern for power requirements, sensors and observers, or actual hardware demonstrations. In this work, power requirements while using a piezo-driven, resonant flapping wing control scheme, Bi-harmonic Amplitude and Bias Modulation, were studied. In addition, the power efficiency versus flapping frequency was studied and shown to be maximized while flapping at the piezo-driven system's resonance. Then prototype hardware of varying designs was used to capture the impact of a specific component of the flapping wing micro air vehicle, the passive rotation joint. Finally, closed-loop control of different constrained configurations was demonstrated using the resonant flapping Bi-harmonic Amplitude and Bias Modulation scheme with the optimized hardware. This work is important in the development and understanding of eventual free-flight capable flapping wing micro air vehicles

AFIT Designator


DTIC Accession Number