Design and Development of an Ornithopter

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Nihanshu Mulkalwar, Rushikesh Kunte, Shubham Karale, Bhagyesh Bhansali


In recent years the subject of flying vehicle propelled by flapping wings, also known as ornithopter, has been an area of interest because of its application to micro aerial vehicles (MAVs). These miniature vehicles seek to mimic small birds and insects to achieve never before seen agility in flight. This renewed interest has raised a host of new problems in vehicle dynamics and control to explore. Ornithopters are robotic flight vehicles that employ flapping wings to generate lift and thrust forces. In order to better study the control of flapping wing flight we are developing an ornithopter model which will be capable of carrying a wireless camera. This report elaborates the essential aspects for the development of ornithopter and also describes mechanism of operation and the various applications of our ornithopter model. Our ornithopter model has a wing-span of 1.15m with a constant flapping frequency of 3Hz. The design for the same model is done with the objective of achieving the maximum lift and minimum drag possible which are the most important aspects considering the flight of the ornithopter. The complete design of the ornithopter model is done in SOLIDWORKS. The Ornithopter model is developed by keeping the aspects of gear reduction, aspect ratio, importance of tail, centre of mass, power requirements in consideration. At last, the design was analysed using CFD in ANSYS FLUENT in order to get the results of lift and drag force at various angle of attack and flow velocities.

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