by Erin Crawley
Air Force Office of Scientific Research Public Affairs
7/24/2006 - ARLINGTON, Va. (AFPN) -- Air Force Office of Scientific Research officials here recently completed a workshop entitled "Biologically Inspired Flight for Micro Air Vehicles" in Denver.
Micro air vehicles, or MAVs, are part of a new breed of remotely controlled aircraft that are significantly smaller than currently available remotely controlled aircraft. Most are only about six inches long. Future development of insect-size aircraft is expected in the near future. MAVs are of great interest to the Air Force because of a variety of critical new military needs, chiefly in urban areas, officials said.
More than 70 attendees from universities around the world including the United Kingdom, Germany, Australia, Canada and the United States, participated. Government attendees included representatives from the Air Force Research Laboratory, the Navy Research Laboratory and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. Additionally several industry representatives from companies such as Boeing took part in the program.
AFOSR officials used the workshop as a forum for collaboration and to assess current state-of-the-art technologies in the MAV realm, identify significant technical challenges and recommend future research opportunities.
The chairman of the organizational committee for this workshop was Lt. Col. Rhett Jefferies, the Air Force Office of Scientific Research program manager for the aerospace and materials sciences directorate.
"Feedback from attendees (at the workshop) was overwhelmingly positive, and they were excited to participate," Colonel Jefferies said.
Colonel Jefferies oversees the unsteady and rotating flows basic research portfolio for AFOSR.
The challenges of this research include exploring ways in which a MAV can successfully operate in an urban or confined environment with the utmost agility. Researchers are trying to find ways to incorporate the ability for MAVs to hover and dwell in a survey environment.
Attendees at this workshop reviewed ways in which MAVs have the potential to drive advances in aircraft nonlinear flight mechanics models and considered some practical demonstrations of true, direct numerical simulations.
By supporting research workshops like this, AFOSR continues to expand the horizon of scientific knowledge through its leadership and management of the Air Force's basic research program. As a vital component of the Air Force Research Laboratory, AFOSR supports Air Force's mission of control and maximum use of air and space.