6Chord‐dominated Ground‐effect Aerodynamics of Fixed‐wing UAVs

Qiulin Qu1 and Ramesh K. Agarwal2

1 Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Beijing, China

2 Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, MO, USA

6.1 Introduction

The UAV is an acronym for ‘unmanned aerial vehicle’, an aircraft with no pilot on board. UAVs can be remote‐controlled (flown by a pilot at a ground control station) or can fly autonomously based on pre‐programmed flight plans or more complex dynamic automation systems. Currently, UAVs are widely used for military and civilian operations. UAVs can be classified into

  • horizontal take‐off and landing fixed‐wing UAVs
  • vertical take‐off and landing (VTOL) rotor UAVs.

During take‐off and landing on a runway or on an aircraft carrier deck, the aerodynamics and flow field of a fixed‐wing UAV will be influenced by the ground effect (GE). Ever since the early days of aviation, pilots have experienced the GE phenomenon while operating very close to the ground. Either during take‐off or landing, air vehicles experience improved efficiency near the ground in the form of increased lift.

When the aerodynamics are changed by GE during take‐off and landing, the pilot of a crewed aircraft can adjust its attitude in real time. However, it is difficult for the remotely operated UAV or the automatic control system of a UAV to do the same thing in real time. Thus, an understanding of their GE aerodynamics will benefit the development of automatic takeoff and landing ...

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