Random geometric graphs as a model for bounding the endurance of soaring aircraft

Nathan T. Depenbusch, Constantino Lagoa, Jack W. Langelaan

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Soaring aircraft and birds utilize the energy of atmospheric convection to remain aloft. As this source of energy gains attention as a method for prolonging the flight times of small UAVs, it is necessary to evaluate the conditions under which it is a viable option. The indefinite endurance problem for soaring aircraft is cast in terms of a random geometric graph. Tools developed for the analysis of random graphs are used to bound the relationship between aircraft efficiency and energy abundance in the atmosphere. A theoretical threshold is arrived at, over which indefinite endurance flights may be possible in an unbounded domain. Simulation results are presented that confirm the existence of a threshold which compares favorably to what is predicted by random graph theory. Extensions are made to missions restricted to finite domains as well.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number7039389
Pages (from-to)248-253
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the IEEE Conference on Decision and Control
Issue numberFebruary
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014
Event2014 53rd IEEE Annual Conference on Decision and Control, CDC 2014 - Los Angeles, United States
Duration: Dec 15 2014Dec 17 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Control and Optimization


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