Colin E. Meehan


Presentation: 9:00-10:15, Kennedy Union Ballroom



Download Project (1.5 MB)


An aircraft without a vertical stabilizer and using a novel rotating empennage is currently under study at the Air Force Research Lab. The project aims to produce a highly maneuverable tailless fighter aircraft that is inspired by the flight of hunting birds. Flying creatures do not have a vertical stabilizer and exhibit remarkable maneuverability by rotating their tail feathers for lateral stability and pitch control. In the tailless bio-inspired aircraft, lateral control is gained by providing the empennage with an additional degree of freedom. The bio-inspired rotating empennage (BIRE) concept aircraft has the capability to rotate the empennage about the roll axis, in addition to tilting each horizontal stabilizer about the pitch axis. The selected platform for the BIRE project is a single-engine, supersonic, tactical aircraft, based on the F-16 Fighting Falcon. The design of the outer mold line, the mechanical drive and structural components is ongoing. This poster will illustrate the concept and current state of development.

Publication Date


Project Designation

Independent Research

Primary Advisor

Andrew P. Murray, Dave Harry Myszka

Primary Advisor's Department

Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering


Stander Symposium, School of Engineering

Mechanical Design of an Aircraft with a Bio-Inspired Rotating Empennage