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Small Unmanned Aircraft by Timothy W. McLain, Randal W. Beard

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2

Coordinate Frames

In studying unmanned aircraft systems, it is important to understand how different bodies are oriented relative to each other. Most obviously, we need to understand how the aircraft is oriented with respect to the earth. We may also want to know how a sensor (e.g., a camera) is oriented relative to the aircraft or how an antenna is oriented relative to a signal source on the ground. This chapter describes the various coordinate systems used to describe the position and orientation of the aircraft and its sensors, and the transformation between these coordinate systems. It is necessary to use several different coordinate systems for the following reasons:

• Newton’s equations of motion are derived relative to a fixed, inertial ...

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