Flight Path Planning in a Turbulent Wind Environment


To achieve a high conversion efficiency and at the same time robust control of a pumping kite power system it is crucial to optimize the three-dimensional flight path of the tethered wing. This chapter extends a dynamic system model to account for a realistic, turbulent wind environment and adds a flight path planner using a sequence of attractor points and turn actions. Path coordinates are calculated with explicit geometric formulas. To optimize the power output the path is adapted to the average wind speed and the vertical wind profile, using a small set of parameters. The planner employs a finite state machine with switch conditions that are highly robust towards sensor errors. The results indicate, that the decline of the average power output of pumping kite power systems at high wind speeds can be mitigated. In addition it is shown, that reeling out towards the zenith after flying figure eight flight maneuvers significantly reduces the traction forces during reel-in and thus increases the total efficiency.

Airborne Wind Energy – Advances in Technology Development and Research