Object-oriented unsteady vortex lattice method for flapping flight

Tracy E. Fritz, Lyle N. Long

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

111 Scopus citations


The unsteady vortex lattice method is used to model the oscillating plunging, pitching, twisting, and flapping motions of a finite-aspect-ratio wing. Its potential applications include design and analysis of small unmanned air vehicles and in the study of the high-frequency flapping flight of birds and other small flyers. The results are verified by theory and, in the plunging and pitching cases, by experimental data. The model includes free-wake relaxation, vortex stretching, and vortex dissipation effects and is implemented using object-oriented computing techniques. The results show that the method is capable of accurately simulating many of the features of complex flapping flight.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1275-1290
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Aircraft
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2004

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Aerospace Engineering


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