Vizzini, Anthony J.

Committee Member

Edwards, Thomas E.

Date of Degree


Document Type

Graduate Thesis - Open Access


This thesis documents the design and development of a robust backpackable proof-of-concept unmanned aerial vehicle. The unmanned aerial vehicle?s design departs from existing configurations in utilizing a keel beam fuselage which replaces the enclosed fuselage by a flat keel beam on which the sensors, the autopilot, their related power sources, and flight control systems are mounted. The keel beam fuselage is provides enhanced mounting capability for multiple sensors and quick reconfiguration in the field. The keel beam fuselage can also be manufactured quicker than a traditional enclosed fuselage. The objective of this study is to demonstrate that the keel beam configuration is a viable design for an unmanned aerial vehicle and the challenges of modular, plug-n-play hardware. The design, fabrication, and flight testing of the air vehicle are addressed.