Design, Construction, and Testing of a Folding-Wing, Tube-Launched Micro Air Vehicle

Document Type

Conference Paper

Publication Date


Publication Source

43rd AIAA Aerospace Sciences Meeting and Exhibit


This paper documents the development and testing of a flexible, folding-wing micro air vehicle (MAV) prototype. The ultimate role of this concept is intended to be over-the-hill, real-time reconnaissance. Its folding wing design allows it to be stored in a compact tube of approximately 60mm in diameter and launched from the ground (from a handheld grenade launcher or mortar, for example). The proof-of-concept prototype constructed during this effort was not remotely piloted; it was designed to fly a controlled spiral glide back to the launch site after release.

To demonstrate the release of the MAV, unfolding of the wings, and transition to stable descending flight, a model rocket was used as a carrier vehicle to provide altitude for test flights. Included in this paper is a description of the concept development, design, construction and testing of the MAV, along with an analysis of the results and a discussion of the lessons learned during the design of this vehicle.




Permission documentation is on file.


American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics

Place of Publication

Reno, NV