“Challenges Facing Small Scale Flight:
The Development of Micro and Nano Air Vehicles”
 
Darryll J. Pines
Professor and Chair
Department of Aerospace Engineering
University of Maryland
College Park, Maryland
 
 
Abstract

Micro air vehicles (MAVs) Nano Air Vehicles (NAVs) are an emerging technology that can potentially transform the way a wide array of law enforcement, military, and civilian missions are approached. This presentation reviews the development of small scale flying systems. Challenges associated with the development of these systems parallels the first century of flight where very few analysis tools, as well as experimental facilities are available to develop robust designs.  Several recent micro and nano air vehicle designs will be presented. Current prototypes are lacking in endurance and payload capabilities, and suffer from poor aerodynamic and power conversion efficiency. In this presentation, the performance of these systems will be evaluated with suggestions to future improvements in technology development at this scale. Issues associated with Reynolds number, structures and materials, navigation and control will be summarized. Finally, a summary of recent technology advances and predicted improvements in the 3rd-half century of flight will be discussed.