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Pterosaur-inspired aircraft design

From: Ben Creisler

The news story:

The paper:

Brian Roberts, Rick Lind and Sankar Chatterjee (2011)
Flight dynamics of a pterosaur-inspired aircraft utilizing a
variable-placement vertical tail. 
Bioinspiration & Biomimetics 6(2): 
doi: 10.1088/1748-3182/6/2/026010

Mission performance for small aircraft is often dependent on the turn
radius. Various biologically inspired concepts have demonstrated that
performance can be improved by morphing the wings in a manner similar to
birds and bats; however, the morphing of the vertical tail has received
less attention since neither birds nor bats have an appreciable vertical
tail. This paper investigates a design that incorporates the morphing of
the vertical tail based on the cranial crest of a pterosaur. The
aerodynamics demonstrate a reduction in the turn radius of 14% when placing
the tail over the nose in comparison to a traditional aft-placed vertical
tail. The flight dynamics associated with this configuration has unique
characteristics such as a Dutch-roll mode with excessive roll motion and a
skid divergence that replaces the roll convergence.

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