9–11 July 2018
Duke Energy Convention Center, Cincinnati, Ohio

Propulsion of Flapping-wing Micro Air Vehicles (FMAVs)

7-8 July 2018
0800-1700 hrs


This course focuses on the energy and power system of flapping-wing micro air vehicles (FMAVs). The principle, structure, and modeling of the FMAV propulsion system, which is inspired by the flight mechanisms of natural flying creatures, will be introduced, and the latest theoretical and experimental research results of the propulsion of FMAVs will be discussed.

With the development of micromachining and bionic technologies, the size of MAV decreases from macroscale to bird-scale or even insect-scale, and their flying mechanisms are changing from fixed/rotor-wing flight to flapping-wing flight. For the FMAV, how its propulsion system realizes energy storage, conversion, and output in such a small space for sufficient lift and thrust is a big challenge to be explored in aeronautics and it will be discussed in this course.

Key Topics

  • Introducing the flight mechanisms of natural flying creatures
  • Summarizing the principles and performances of commonly used driving approaches, such as DC Motor, piezoelectric actuation, electromagnetic actuation and electrostatic actuation
  • Studying the system components (such as transmissions, wings, airframe, power source) suitable for different driving approaches
  • Experiments and simulations for the whole-system.

Who Should Attend

This is a specialized course for students or researchers in the field of flight vehicle propulsion engineering, or anyone interested in learning more about the field.

Course Outline

Chapter 1. Introduction
1.1 Overview of Current Status
1.2 Research and Development Challenges

Chapter 2. Flight Mechanisms of Natural Flying Creatures
2.1 Energy Transfer Mechanism in Biological Structures
2.2 Kinematics of Wings
2.3 Aerodynamics of Lift Generation

Chapter 3. Principle and Performance Evaluation of Propulsion 
3.1 DC Motor
3.2 Piezoelectric and Electromagnetic Actuation
3.3 Electrostatic Actuation

Chapter 4. Transmissions
4.1 Displacement and Force Amplification
4.2 Passive and Active Rotation
4.3 Manufacture Methods

Chapter 5. Wings
5.1 Morphology Design
5.2 Mechanical Properties
5.3 Manufacture Methods

Chapter 6. Energy System
6.1 Energy Storage Mediums
6.2 Power Electronics
6.3 Multifunctional Energy Storage

Chapter 7. Whole-System Experiments
7.1 System Assembly
7.2 Wing Motion, Lift Force Test
7.3 Flight Test

Chapter 8. Flight Dynamic Modeling 
8.1 Dynamic Model and Control System
8.2 Optimization

Course Instructor

Xiaojun Yan joined Beihang University in 2002 and is now a professor at the School of Energy and Power Engineering and vice-dean of the school. He received his B.S. and Ph.D. degrees from Beihang University in 1995 and 2000, respectively. He was a visiting scholar at UC Berkeley during 2009-2010. He was awarded the National Excellent 100 Doctoral Dissertation (2003) and the New Century Excellent Talents in Universities (2006) in China, and the Second Prize for Progress in Science and Technology awarded by the Chinese Ministry of Education (2013). He won the Beijing Youth May 4th Medal (2009) and the Award for Beijing Talents in Education Innovation (2006). His current research interests include power and propulsion for micro air vehicles, smart structure, and high temperature structure mechanics. Currently, he serves as a subject editor for the Journal of Aerospace Power, and is a member of Beihang University Academic Committee.

Mingjing Qi received his B.S. and Ph.D. degrees from Beihang University, Beijing, China, in 2009 and 2015, respectively. Currently he is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of California at Berkeley (UC Berkeley). His research interests include high temperature structural mechanics, micro actuator and micro aerial vehicles.

Course Materials

Course notes will be made available about one week prior to the course event. You will receive an email with detailed instructions on how to access your course notes. Since course notes will not be distributed on site, AIAA and your course instructor highly recommend that you bring your computer with the course notes already downloaded to the course.  


Please contact Jason Cole if you have any questions about courses and workshops at AIAA forums.

Dates to Remember

  • Manuscript Deadline: 13 Jun 2018
  • Early Mem Reg Deadline: 18 Jun 2018
  • Cancellation Deadline: 25 Jun 2018

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