A Passively Stable Hovering Flapping Micro-Air Vehicle

  • Floris van BreugelEmail author
  • Zhi Ern Teoh
  • Hod Lipson


Many insects and some birds can hover in place using flapping wing motion. Although this ability is key to making small scale aircraft, hovering flapping behavior has been difficult to reproduce artificially due to the challenging stability, power, and aeroelastic phenomena involved. A number of ornithopters have been demonstrated, some even as toys, nearly all of these designs, however, cannot hover in place because lift is maintained through airfoils that require forward motion. Two recent projects, DeLaurier’s Mentor Project and the TU Delft’s DelFly (Chapter 14), have demonstrated flapping based hovering flight. In an effort to push the field forward even further, we present here the first passively stable 24 g hoverer capable of hovering flapping flight at a Reynolds number similar to insects (\(Re=8,000\)). The machine takes advantage of the clap and fling effect, in addition to passive wing bending to simplify the design and enhance performance. We hope that this will aid in the future design of smaller machines, and shed light on the mechanisms underlying insect flight.


Wing Shape Lead Edge Vortex Piezo Actuator Passive Stability Rigid Body Mode 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We would like to thank our funding sources for supporting this project, including Cornell Presidential Research Scholars, the NASA Space Consortium, and the NASA Institute for Advanced Concepts.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Cornell Computational Synthesis LabCornell UniversityIthacaUSA

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