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We develop an aircraft and control system that is capable of repeatedly performing a high speed (7m/s or 16 MPH) "knife-edge" maneuver through a gap that is smaller than the aircraft's wingspan. The maneuver consists of flying towards a gap, rolling to a significant angle, accurately navigating between the obstacles, and rolling back to horizontal. The speed and roll-rate required demand a control system capable of highly precise, repeatable maneuvers. We address the necessary control theory, path planning, and hardware requirements for such a maneuver, and give a proposal for a new system that may improve upon the existing techniques.


© 2012 Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Andrew Barry. This dissertation was submitted to the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.