X-56A Aeroelastically Scaled Modular Aircraft for Research | Engineering Clinic


Project Code: 15098
Project Title: X-56A Aeroelastically Scaled Modular Aircraft for Research
Project Type: Faculty
Project Intellectual Property: University Controlled
Project Citizenship Restriction: No

Project Details

Sponsor Company: UA Department of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering
Description: This project seeks to continue the development of a one-third aeroelastically scaled model of the X-56A, an unmanned aerial vehicle designed by Lockheed Martin. The X-56A Multi-Utility Technology Test bed is used by the Air Force Research Laboratory to research flutter suppression on flexible wings. The team’s design maintains the modularity of the full-scale X-56A, allowing for wing sets of varying stiffness to be combined with a single fuselage and radio control system. Straight-wing planforms and empennage were designed and integrated for increased stability during flight research. The use of room-temperature composite manufacturing techniques allowed the flexural properties of each wing set to be tailored to dynamically and elastically match the low- and high-stiffness wings of the full-size X-56A. Using fiber-reinforced composites allowed exact surfaces to be replicated across iterations of wing sets and parts to be easily reproduced. Ultimately, the team’s design will be used by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research to investigate fluid-structure interaction and novel fluid dynamics models.