Interest in Micro Air Vehicles (MAVs) has increased in recent years. The ability of small craft to fly covert surveillance missions or carry some other sensory payload while providing real-time information has sparked the growth of research in the field. The Rochester Institute of Technology has the capacity to facilitate MAV research. RIT's subsonic wind tunnel is capable of obtaining the low-speed flow to obtain the testing Reynolds numbers of 75,000 to 200,000. This research focused on the repair work of the longitudinal piezoelectric load cell balance. The balance had not been maintained properly and needed many repairs. Once modifications to the balance were completed, numerous validation checks were conducted. Validation tests for static data included a flat plate and the Eppler-212 airfoil. Validation tests for dynamic data included the LRN1007 airfoil. Multiple tests were conducted to check the repeatability of data. After the functionality of the balance had been validated, a preliminary investigation into the effects of winglet span and chord length was conducted. Winglets have been shown to increase the lift performance of MAVs, but their effect on stall had not been investigated. A modified inverse Zimmerman planform was used for winglet testing. Planform airfoils tested included a flat plate, the GOE417a, and the S5020. The tested Reynolds numbers were 75,000, 100,000, and 125,000. The results show that winglet A, which covered the entire wingtip and had a three centimeter span, had the highest lift and drag compared to the other winglet and no winglet configurations. Winglet A also consistently stalled before the other configurations. Tests also showed that the stall angle generally increased as the winglet chord length decreased. Winglet A is not recommended for MAV use due to lower stall angle and higher drag characteristics.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Drone aircraft--Testing; Dynamic testing; Airplanes--Design and construction; Stalling (Aerodynamics)

Publication Date


Document Type


Student Type


Degree Name

Mechanical Engineering (MS)

Department, Program, or Center

Mechanical Engineering (KGCOE)


Jeffery Kozak

Advisor/Committee Member

Agamemnon Crassidis

Advisor/Committee Member

Mark Kempski


Physical copy available from RIT's Wallace Library at TL685.3 .G74 2006


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