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Saturday, July 23, 2016

Drones : 2 of n

UAV Components

Manned and unmanned aircraft of the same type generally have recognizably similar physical components. The main exceptions are the cockpit and environmental control system or life support systems. Some UAVs carry payloads (such as a camera) that weigh considerably less than an adult human, and as a result can be considerably smaller. Though they carry heavy payloads, weaponized military drones are lighter than their manned counterparts with comparable armaments.
Small civilian UAVs have no life-critical systems, and can thus be built out of lighter but less sturdy materials and shapes, and can use less robustly tested electronic control systems. For small UAVs, the quadcopter design has become popular, though this layout is rarely used for manned aircraft. Miniaturization means that less-powerful propulsion technologies can be used that are not feasible for manned aircraft, such as small electric motors and batteries.
Control systems for UAVs are often different than manned craft. For remote human control, a camera and video link almost always replace the cockpit windows; radio-transmitted digital commands replace physical cockpit controls. Autopilot software is used on both manned and unmanned aircrft, with varying feature sets.


The primary difference for planes is the absence of the cockpit area and its windows. Tailless Quadcopters are a common form factor for rotary wing UAVs while tailed mono- and bi-copters are common for manned platforms.

Power supply and platform
Small UAVs rely mostly use lithium-polymer batteries (Li-Po), while larger vehicles rely on conventional airplane engines.


UAV computing capability followed the advances of computing technology, beginning with analog controls and evolving into microcontrollers, then system-on-a-chip (SOC) and single-board computers (SBC).
System hardware for small UAVs is often called the Flight Controller (FC), Flight Controller Board (FCB) or Autopilot.


Proprioceptive sensors give information about the aircraft state. Exteroceptive sensors deal with external information like distance measurements, while exproprioceptive ones correlate internal and external states.
Non-cooperative sensors are able to detect targets autonomously so they are used for separation assurance and collision avoidance.


UAV actuators include digital electronic speed controllers (which control the RPM of the motors) linked to motors/engines and propellers, servomotors (for planes and helicopters mostly), weapons, payload actuators, LEDs and speakers.


UAV software is called the flight stack or autopilot. UAVs are real-time systems that require rapid response to changing sensor data. Examples include RaspberryPis, Beagleboards, etc. shielded with NavIO, PXFMini, etc. or designed from scratch such as Nuttx, preemptive-RT Linux, Xenomai, Orocos-Robot Operating System or DDS-ROS 2.0.

Source: Wikipedia and Youtube

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Drones : 1 of n

An unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), commonly known as a drone, is an aircraft without a human pilot aboard. The flight of UAVs may operate with various degrees of autonomy: either under remote control by a human operator, or fully or intermittently autonomously, by on board computers.

Compared to manned aircraft, UAVs are often preferred for missions that are too "dull, dirty or dangerous" for humans. They originated mostly in military applications, although their use is expanding in commercial, scientific, recreational and other applications, such as policing and surveillance, aerial photography, agriculture and drone racing. Civilian drones now vastly outnumber military drones, with estimates of over a million sold by 2015.

Source : Wikipedia and Youtube

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Helicopters : 4 of n


There are three basic flight conditions for a helicopter: hover, forward flight and the transition between the two.


Hovering is the most challenging part of flying a helicopter. This is because a helicopter generates its own gusty air while in a hover, which acts against the fuselage and flight control surfaces. The end result is constant control inputs and corrections by the pilot to keep the helicopter where it is required to be. Despite the complexity of the task, the control inputs in a hover are simple. The cyclic is used to eliminate drift in the horizontal plane, that is to control forward and back, right and left. The collective is used to maintain altitude. The pedals are used to control nose direction or heading. It is the interaction of these controls that makes hovering so difficult, since an adjustment in any one control requires an adjustment of the other two, creating a cycle of constant correction.

Transition from hover to forward flight

As a helicopter moves from hover to forward flight it enters a state called translational lift which provides extra lift without increasing power. This state, most typically, occurs when the airspeed reaches approximately 16–24 knots, and may be necessary for a helicopter to obtain flight.

Forward flight

In forward flight a helicopter's flight controls behave more like those of a fixed-wing aircraft. Displacing the cyclic forward will cause the nose to pitch down, with a resultant increase in airspeed and loss of altitude. Aft cyclic will cause the nose to pitch up, slowing the helicopter and causing it to climb. Increasing collective (power) while maintaining a constant airspeed will induce a climb while decreasing collective will cause a descent. Coordinating these two inputs, down collective plus aft cyclic or up collective plus forward cyclic, will result in airspeed changes while maintaining a constant altitude. The pedals serve the same function in both a helicopter and a fixed-wing aircraft, to maintain balanced flight. This is done by applying a pedal input in whichever direction is necessary to center the ball in the turn and bank indicator.

Source: Wikipedia and Youtube

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Helicopters : 3 of n

Flight controls

Controls from a Bell 206
A helicopter has four flight control inputs. These are the cyclic, the collective, the anti-torque pedals, and the throttle. The cyclic control is usually located between the pilot's legs and is commonly called the cyclic stick or just cyclic

On most helicopters, the cyclic is similar to a joystick. 
The control is called the cyclic because it changes the pitch of the rotor blades cyclically. The result is to tilt the rotor disk in a particular direction, resulting in the helicopter moving in that direction. If the pilot pushes the cyclic forward, the rotor disk tilts forward, and the rotor produces a thrust in the forward direction. If the pilot pushes the cyclic to the side, the rotor disk tilts to that side and produces thrust in that direction, causing the helicopter to hover sideways.
The collective pitch control or collective is located on the left side of the pilot's seat with a settable friction control to prevent inadvertent movement. The collective changes the pitch angle of all the main rotor blades collectively (i.e. all at the same time) and independently of their position. Therefore, if a collective input is made, all the blades change equally, and the result is the helicopter increasing or decreasing in altitude.

The anti-torque pedals are located in the same position as the rudder pedals in a fixed-wing aircraft, and serve a similar purpose, namely to control the direction in which the nose of the aircraft is pointed. Application of the pedal in a given direction changes the pitch of the tail rotor blades, increasing or reducing the thrust produced by the tail rotor and causing the nose to yaw in the direction of the applied pedal. The pedals mechanically change the pitch of the tail rotor altering the amount of thrust produced.

Source: Wikipedia and Youtube

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Helicopters : 2 of n

Rotor system

The rotor system, or more simply rotor, is the rotating part of a helicopter that generates lift. A rotor system may be mounted horizontally, as main rotors are, providing lift vertically, or it may be mounted vertically, such as a tail rotor, to provide horizontal thrust to counteract torque from the main rotors. The rotor consists of a mast, hub and rotor blades.
The mast is a cylindrical metal shaft that extends upwards from the transmission. At the top of the mast is the attachment point for the rotor blades called the hub. The rotor blades are attached to the hub. 

Anti-torque features

Most helicopters have a single main rotor, but torque created as the engine turns the rotor causes the body of the helicopter to turn in the opposite direction to the rotor. To eliminate this effect, some sort of anti-torque control must be used.
The design that Igor Sikorsky settled on for his VS-300 was a smaller tail rotor. The tail rotor pushes or pulls against the tail to counter the torque effect, and this has become the most common configuration for helicopter design.

Some helicopters use other anti-torque controls instead of the tail rotor, such as the ducted fan.

The use of two or more horizontal rotors turning in opposite directions is another configuration used to counteract the effects of torque on the aircraft without relying on an anti-torque tail rotor. This allows the power normally required to drive the tail rotor to be applied to the main rotors, increasing the aircraft's lifting capacity. 

There are several common configurations that use the counter-rotating effect to benefit the rotorcraft:
  • Tandem rotors are two counter-rotating rotors with one mounted behind the other.
  • Coaxial rotors are two counter-rotating rotors mounted one above the other with the same axis.
  • Intermeshing rotors are two counter-rotating rotors mounted close to each other at a sufficient angle to let the rotors intermesh over the top of the aircraft without colliding.
  • Quadcopters have four rotors often with parallel axes (sometimes rotating in the same direction with tilted axes) which are commonly used on model aircraft.

Source: WIkipedia and Youtube

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Helicopters : 1 of n

A helicopter is a type of rotorcraft in which lift and thrust are supplied by rotors. This allows the helicopter to take off and land vertically, to hover, and to fly forward, backward, and laterally. These attributes allow helicopters to be used in congested or isolated areas where fixed-wing aircraft and many forms of VTOL (vertical takeoff and landing) aircraft cannot perform.

The word helicopter is adapted from the French language hélicoptère, coined by Gustave Ponton d'Amécourt in 1861, which originates from the Greek helix "helix, spiral, whirl, convolution "wing". English-language nicknames for helicopter include "chopper", "copter", "helo", "heli", and "whirlybird".

Helicopters were developed and built during the first half-century of 
flight, with the Focke-Wulf Fw 61 being the first operational helicopter in 1936. 

Some helicopters reached limited production, but it was not until 1942 that a helicopter designed by Igor Sikorsky reached full-scale production, with 131 aircraft built. Though most earlier designs used more than one main rotor, it is the single main rotor with anti-torque tail rotor configuration that has become the most common helicopter configuration. 

Tandem rotor helicopters are also in widespread use due to their greater payload capacity. Coaxial helicopters, tiltrotor aircraft, and compound helicopters are all flying today. Quadcopter helicopters pioneered as early as 1907 in France, and other types of multicopter have been developed for specialized applications such as unmanned drones.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Snippet: Rocket Engines (10 on n)

Mechanical issues

Rocket combustion chambers are normally operated at fairly high pressure, typically 10-200 bar (1 to 20 MPa, 150-3000 psi). 

When operated within significant atmospheric pressure, higher combustion chamber pressures give better performance by permitting a larger and more efficient nozzle to be fitted without it being grossly over expanded.

However, these high pressures cause the outermost part of the chamber to be under very large hoop stresses – rocket engines are pressure vessels.

Worse, due to the high temperatures created in rocket engines the materials used tend to have a significantly lowered working tensile strength.

In addition, significant temperature gradients are set up in the walls of the chamber and nozzle, these cause differential expansion of the inner liner that create internal stresses.

Acoustic issues

The extreme vibration and acoustic environment inside a rocket motor commonly result in peak stresses well above mean values, especially in the presence of organ pipe-like resonances and gas turbulence.

Source: Wikipedia