The design of a flapping wing air vehicle is dependent on the interaction of drive motors and wings. In addition to the wing shape and spar arrangement, sizing and flapping kinematics affect vehicle performance due to wing deformation resulting from flapping motions. To achieve maximum payload and endurance, it is necessary to select a wing size and flapping rate that will ensure strong performance and compatibility with drive motor capabilities. Due to several conflicting trade-offs in system design, this is a challenging problem. We have conducted an experimental study of several wing sizes at multiple flapping rates to build an understanding of the design space and ensure acceptable vehicle performance. To support this study, we have designed a new custom test stand and data post-processing procedure. The results of this study are used to build a design methodology for flapping wing air vehicles with improved performance and to highlight system design challenges and strategies for mitigation. Using the methodology described in this paper, we have developed a new flapping wing air vehicle called the Robo Raven II. This vehicle uses larger wings than Robo Raven and flight tests have confirmed that Robo Raven II has a higher payload capacity.

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