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Over the past two decades significant progress has been made on the development of mission capable micro air vehicles (MAV) and small unmanned aircraft systems (sUAS) but the full potential of implementing multifunctional morphing wings using active materials has not been realized.  A need exists to develop a MAV wing that can autonomously adapt to flight conditions allowing the vehicle to aggressively climb-out on take-off, be more maneuverable, capable of flight through constrained and obstructed air spaces, operate with greater fuel efficiency, and land in a slow/controlled manner.

A bird wing allows a high degree of adaptation to ever-changing flight environments and conditions. Being able to emulate a bird wing in a MAV could provide a significant leap in the capability of micro air vehicles to prosecute ever more complex and difficult missions.

One approach to creating a bird-like wing for a MAV is through biomimicry. Through selective use of available engineering materials, architectures, and processes, and through biomimetic design, a bird wing, with planform shape and airfoil morphing was duplicated for a MAV.  This ongoing effort will move development of a morphing MAV from operator radio controlled servo actuated morphing through to autopilot controlled piezoelectric actuated autonomous morphing.

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