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Flight Control During Weight Changes (Cargo Drop Tests)

It is well known that weight significantly influences aircraft performance. As we analyzed in previous articles, keeping the aircraft flying inside its flight envelope is something critical to ensuring the platform's airworthiness.

Once we have determined the weight we want to transport as payload and be sure that we have not exceeded the aircraft MTOW (Maximum Take-Off Weight), this is, the maximum weight of the platform in take-off recommended by the manufacturer, we should study the place of weights inside the platform. In aeronautics, this is what we call the center of gravity definition of the plane. 

This is an important concept that influences the flight behavior of the aircraft in flight. 

To better understand this concept in an easy and simplified way, we can compare the aircraft to a trade balance with one of the plates in the nose of the platform and the other in the tail. The point of balance will be the plane's center of gravity, whose position will influence the flight dynamics. 

An advanced center of gravity will be translated into a tendency to have lower angles of attack of the aircraft and, therefore, keep the aircraft far from the stall speed. This location of the center of mass will also influence the aircraft roll, and it will increase the wing load and the induced drag, leading to higher fuel consumption and a lower range.

In the same way, flying with an in rear CM makes the aircraft rear up and stall, especially in turbulent atmospheres. In these situations, the control of a stall situation becomes very difficult to redirect.

For these reasons, the way we set loads inside the aircraft is a crucial factor for the aircraft's performance as it will define the position of the center of gravity. This way, the distribution of loads will be something to consider when executing a logistic mission where a load is delivered, and the aircraft mass changes radically during the flight. Keeping the center of gravity close to a neutral position will be very beneficial.

Our flight algorithms ensure flight safety at every stage of a cargo delivery mission. With our flight controller, the user will be able to execute automatic cargo drops, always keeping the aircraft balanced despite the weight changes. 

UAV Navigation flight control solutions are designed to care about the aircraft maintaining it inside the flight envelope in every situation.

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UAV Navigation is a privately-owned company that has specialized in the design of flight control solutions for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) since 2004. It is used by a variety of Tier 1 aerospace manufacturers in a wide range of UAV - also known as Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) or 'drones'. These include high-performance tactical unmanned planes, aerial targets, mini-UAVs and helicopters.