Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics

First Advisor

Richard G. Cobb, PhD.


Flapping wing micro air vehicles (FWMAV) have been a growing field in the research of micro air vehicles, but little emphasis has been placed on control theory. Research is ongoing on how to power FWMAVs where mass is a major area of concern. However, there is little research on the power requirements for the controllers to manipulate the wings of a FWMAV. A novel control theory, BABM, allows two actuators to produce forces and moments in five of the FWMAV's six DOF. Several FWMAV prototypes were constructed and tested on a six-component balance. Data was collected for varying control parameters and the generated forces were measured. The results mapped control parameters to different degrees of freedom. The force required to generate desirable motion and power required to generate that motion was plotted and evaluated. These results can be used to generate a minimum power controller in the future. The results showed that BABM control required a 26% increase in power in order to increase lift by 22%. The lift increase was accomplished by increasing the amplitude by 10% over the established baseline. The data also showed that varying some parameters actually decreased the power requirements, allowing other parameters to increase which in turn would enable more complex maneuvers. For instance, an asymmetric change in split-cycle shift of + or - 0.25 decreased the power required by 14% and decreased the lift by 25%. Changing the stroke bias to + or - 0.75 had a negligible effect on power but decreased the lift by 27%. Furthermore, the data identified certain parameter combinations which resulted in other forces and moments. These results identified how BABM be used as a control theory for the control of FWMAVs.

AFIT Designator


DTIC Accession Number