Aerospace & Defense
Word's Smallest Cyclocopter Achieves Stable Hovering Flight
The world's smallest cycloidal-based rotorcraft - or cyclocopter - has been created and successfully test flown at Texas A&M University's Advanced Vertical Flight Laboratory. Weighing 29 grams, it utilizes advances in microelectronics technology and carbon fiber composite construction. The cyclorotor, unlike traditional helicopter rotors, utilizes a horizontal axis of rotation with the blade span parallel to this axis. The current vehicle prototype uses cantilevered rotor blades with a semi-elliptical planform shape, resulting in a novel, lightweight cyclorotor design. To minimize blade bending, a high strength-to-weight ratio unidirectional carbon-fiber based structural design is employed, and the blades are fabricated using a specialized manufacturing process which ensures consistency and lightweight results.