Qualitative Comparison of the Slanted Tailplane Configuration in the Indonesian BPPT’s General Purposes UAV


This article contains a discussion of the advantages of the unique configuration of the Indonesian general purposes Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) equipped with the slanted tailplane. These UAVs—prototyped by the Indonesian Agency for the Assessment and Application of Technology (BPPT)—applied the V-tail and the Inverted V-tail plane configuration for their empennage construction. Such unconventional configuration has been implemented in the aircraft design, especially for the UAV. Previously, the conventional configurations are preferable due to the less of resource, lower effort and lower cost in the aircraft design. In the conventional empennage design, the tail consists of the vertical fin and horizontal tail plane joined to form the T-tail configuration. Although the vertical and horizontal tail construction decoupled the aircraft longitudinal and directional control, there is a higher risk of flutter occurrence at the T-tail joint. The conventional T-tail configuration also resulted in higher drag compared with the slanted tail­plane, i.e. the V and the inverted V-tail plane. Since the UAV relied on the autopilot and autonomous flight features, thus a complex control mechanism of the slanted tailplane becomes an insignificant problem compared to the drag reduction obtained. This drag reduction significantly leads to the maximum range or endurance achievement in the UAV remote missions. Besides the benefit of the unconventional tail configuration, the wing and engine placement also brought practical advantages for UAV operations, for example, to impose special flight characteristics like flight agility or the Short Take-Off/Landing (STOL) and supporting the engine maintenance. Thus, the BPPT successful­ly prototyped a V-Tail UAV named the BPPT-01B “Gagak” (means: the crow) and an inverted V-Tail UAV named BPPT-02A “Pelatuk (means: the woodpecker). Each of them equipped with several opposing constructions intended for the comparative research at the later stage such as the low-high wing placement and the low-high tail boom place­ment. The analysis of the qualitative comparison of this uniqueness shown that these slanted tailplane type will play a tremendous role in the future configuration of UAV.

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