‘For some years I have been afflicted with the belief that flight is possible to man.’
Wilbur Wright, 13 May 1900.
This introductory chapter is divided into two main sections: Section 1.1 on unmanned aircraft aerodynamics and Section 1.2 on flight stability, and control. The chapter addresses fundamental principles of aerodynamics, flight stability and control and forms a knowledge base for the student of aerospace engineering before proceeding to more advanced chapters in this book. The chapter includes classroom problems.
1.1 Unmanned Aircraft Aerodynamics
1.1.1 Introduction: UAV Categories and Configurations
Unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) size categories range from nano air vehicles (NAV) with a wing span of only 4 cm to high‐altitude long‐endurance (HALE) aircraft with a wing span of 35 m or more. In between, UAV categories include micro (MAV), mini, close‐range, medium‐range or tactical and medium‐altitude long‐endurance (Figure 1.1). The fluid medium in which an NAV operates is highly viscous, whereas the fluid flow around large (normally manned) aircraft is dominated by inertial effects. Consequently, aerodynamic characteristics vary considerably according to the size of the vehicle.