Table of Contents
Advances in Aerospace Engineering
Volume 2015 (2015), Article ID 613962, 11 pages
Review Article

On the Importance of Nonlinear Aeroelasticity and Energy Efficiency in Design of Flying Wing Aircraft

1University of California, Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA
2Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA 30332-0150, USA

Received 17 August 2014; Accepted 4 December 2014

Academic Editor: Jens N. Sorensen

Copyright © 2015 Pezhman Mardanpour and Dewey H. Hodges. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Energy efficiency plays important role in aeroelastic design of flying wing aircraft and may be attained by use of lightweight structures as well as solar energy. NATASHA (Nonlinear Aeroelastic Trim And Stability of HALE Aircraft) is a newly developed computer program which uses a nonlinear composite beam theory that eliminates the difficulties in aeroelastic simulations of flexible high-aspect-ratio wings which undergoes large deformation, as well as the singularities due to finite rotations. NATASHA has shown that proper engine placement could significantly increase the aeroelastic flight envelope which typically leads to more flexible and lighter aircraft. The areas of minimum kinetic energy for the lower frequency modes are in accordance with the zones with maximum flutter speed and have the potential to save computational effort. Another aspect of energy efficiency for High Altitude, Long Endurance (HALE) drones stems from needing to minimize energy consumption because of limitations on the source of energy, that is, solar power. NATASHA is capable of simulating the aeroelastic passive morphing maneuver (i.e., morphing without relying on actuators) and at as near zero energy cost as possible of the aircraft so as the solar panels installed on the wing are in maximum exposure to sun during different time of the day.