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Unmanned Aerial Vehicles: Embedded Control by Rogelio Lozano

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Chapter 1

Aerodynamic Configurations and Dynamic Models 1

1.1. Aerodynamic configurations

In this chapter, we present the aerodynamic configurations commonly used for UAV (unmanned aerial vehicles) control design. Our presentation is focused on mini-vehicles like the airplane (fixed wing models), the flapping wing UAV aircrafts, and the rotorcrafts (rotary wing models). The rotorcrafts will also be classified according to the number of rotors they are equipped with: 1, 2, 3 or 4.

A UAV, also called drone, is a self-descriptive term commonly used to describe military and civil applications of the latest generations of pilotless aircraft. UAVs are defined as aircrafts without the onboard presence of human pilots, used to perform intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance missions. The technological objective of UAVs is to serve across the full range of missions cited previously. UAVs present several basic advantages compared to manned systems that include better maneuvrability, lower cost, smaller radar signatures, longer endurance, and minor risk to crew.

Usually, people, and also we ourselves, tend to use the terms airplane and aircraft as synonymous. However, dictionary defines an aircraft as any craft that flies through the air, whether it be an airplane, a helicopter, a missile, a glider, a balloon, a blimp, or any other vehicle that uses the air to generate lift for flight. On the other hand, the term airplane is more specific and refers only to a powered vehicle with fixed ...

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