Preliminary Investigation into the design of a Mathematical Control Model for Flying Airboat Concept within Ground Effect
Despite the rapid evolution of technology in both the mechanical and aviation fields, one area that
remains unexplored is the ground effect (GE) and its potential implication on land, sea and air vehicles of the
future. In this regard, the development and implementation of Wing-in-Ground (WIG) crafts have particularly
been lagging behind. WIG crafts are essentially vessels which are operated within the GE, whereby, an improved
lift-to-drag (L/D) ratio is considered as a major enabling factor for aerodynamics improvement. Because of the
unique properties within the GE, WIG crafts are inherently energy-efficient and performance-oriented vessels.
Their versatility also makes them ideal for a wide range of applications encompassing both military and civilian
use. The flying airboat (FA) concept is an example of a WIG craft that utilizes these characteristics, with a design
that seeks to add the benefit of vertical take-off and landing (VTOL). In this study, the approach adopted for
designing a mathematical control model of the concept is explored. The analysis findings indicate that the
controllability of a WIG craft, such as the FA, is mostly reliant upon the fundamental equations of motion.
Incorporation of span dominated GE (SDGE) into the control model substantially improves the lift-to-drag ratio
and therefore, the overall performance of the WIG. The investigation concludes that implementing a
manoeuvrability control model for the FA is viable with minor changes to the presented physical design.
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