The motivation for this research is the need to improve performance of the autonomous flight of a tailsitter UAV. Tailsitter aircraft combine the hovering and vertical take-off and landing capability of a rotorcraft with the long endurance flight capability of a fixed-wing aircraft. The particular aircraft used in this research is the V-Bat, a tailsitter UAV with a conventional wing and the propeller and control surfaces located within a ducted-fan tail assembly. This research focuses on identifying the models and parameters of the V-Bat in hover and level flight as a basis for the design of the control systems for hover, level, and transition modes of flight.Models and parameters were identified from experimental data. Wind-tunnel tests, bench tests, and flight tests were performed in a variety of flight conditions. Wind tunnel tests yielded force and moment coefficients over the full flight envelope of the V-Bat. Models and parameters for longitudinal, lateral, and hover flight are presented. Bench tests were conducted to enhance understanding about the ducted-fan propulsion system and the effectiveness of the control surfaces. The thrust characteristics of the ducted fan were measured. Control derivatives were derived from force and moment measurements. Flight tests were completed to obtain dynamic models of the V-Bat in hover flight. Using frequency-domain system identification methods, frequency-response and transfer function models of roll, pitch, and yaw responses to aileron, elevator, and rudder control input were derived.The results obtained from these experimental tests were used to identify models and parameters of the V-Bat aircraft, giving insight into its behavior and enhancing the control analysis and simulation capabilities for this aircraft, thus providing the increased levels of understanding needed for autonomous flight.



College and Department

Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology; Mechanical Engineering



Date Submitted


Document Type





unmanned aerial vehicle, tailsitter, ducted fan, parameter estimation