Special Issue "Unmanned Aerial Systems"


A special issue of Aerospace (ISSN 2226-4310).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (24 April 2015)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Dr. David Anderson
Aerospace Sciences Research Division, School of Engineering, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, Scotland, UK
Website: http://www.gla.ac.uk/schools/engineering/staff/daveanderson/
E-Mail: Dave.Anderson@glasgow.ac.uk
Interests: autonomous systems, multi-agent & multi-resolution simulation, nonlinear control, operational analysis and flight dynamics & control

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Once perceived as a niche application, Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) are now well established as a serious sector within the aerospace industry. The global marketplace for UAS technology has seen the sharpest growth of any aerospace sector for the past decade and this trend is predicted to continue well into the 21st century. Currently, the most prolific UAS application is military surveillance, where UAS systems have proven to be invaluable in recent conflicts. However, such uses merely scratch the surface of potential UAS applications—the real challenge facing researchers is to develop technologies to enable widespread adoption of UAS in civilian airspace, both controlled and urban.

Research in UAS requires expertise from disciplines across the academic and industrial spectra. Advances in computing and communications bandwidth for example have allowed aerodynamicists and aircraft structural engineers to explore the design space in a manner impossible even a few years ago. This is especially true in the domain of small-UAS, where a number of new platform designs from tail-sitters and stop-rotors to compound configurations have recently been proposed. Not new ideas, granted, but configurations now realisable within an unmanned aircraft setting. Unmanned systems have therefore created an opportunity for novelty, innovation and creativity in aerospace design not seen for half a century. Another key research area is in unmanned aircraft operations analysis. Here, new application areas for UAS are discovered as advances in airborne sensing, autonomy and precise platform control flow into UAS designs, yielding greater performance and capability.

The challenges in realising the true potential of UAS are not all technical. Societal factors must be addressed, particularly the negative stereotype of the ‘drone’. Such challenges may be overcome in part by developing innovative new design and analysis methods for improving and demonstrating UAS safety and reliability. We invite papers either addressing the research opportunities outlined here or in the general topic area of unmanned aerial vehicles that will make a substantive contribution to the state of the art.

Dr. David Anderson
Guest Editor


Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. Papers will be published continuously (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are refereed through a peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Aerospace is an international peer-reviewed Open Access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. For the first couple of issues the Article Processing Charge (APC) will be waived for well-prepared manuscripts. English correction and/or formatting fees of 250 CHF (Swiss Francs) will be charged in certain cases for those articles accepted for publication that require extensive additional formatting and/or English corrections.


  • autonomous systems
  • aerospace sensor technologies
  • aerodynamic technologies
  • systems engineering
  • guidance navigation and control
  • unmanned systems operational analysis/air traffic management
  • system of systems simulation
  • aerospace design and optimization
  • aerospace propulsion
  • smart materials and structures
  • composite structures and health monitoring
  • rotorcraft
  • flight safety
  • reconfigurable/fault tolerant control
  • flight dynamics
  • small unmanned aerial vehicles

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Displaying article 1-5
p. 235-278
by  and
Aerospace 2015, 2(2), 235-278; doi:10.3390/aerospace2020235
Received: 2 February 2015 / Revised: 20 April 2015 / Accepted: 4 May 2015 / Published: 13 May 2015
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(This article belongs to the Special Issue Unmanned Aerial Systems)
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p. 222-234
Aerospace 2015, 2(2), 222-234; doi:10.3390/aerospace2020222
Received: 1 February 2015 / Revised: 13 March 2015 / Accepted: 18 March 2015 / Published: 4 May 2015
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(This article belongs to the Special Issue Unmanned Aerial Systems)
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p. 171-188
by , ,  and
Aerospace 2015, 2(2), 171-188; doi:10.3390/aerospace2020171
Received: 21 November 2014 / Revised: 11 March 2015 / Accepted: 24 March 2015 / Published: 27 April 2015
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(This article belongs to the Special Issue Unmanned Aerial Systems)
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p. 189-202
Aerospace 2015, 2(2), 189-202; doi:10.3390/aerospace2020189
Received: 30 January 2015 / Revised: 15 April 2015 / Accepted: 20 April 2015 / Published: 27 April 2015
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(This article belongs to the Special Issue Unmanned Aerial Systems)
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p. 155-170
by  and
Aerospace 2015, 2(2), 155-170; doi:10.3390/aerospace2020155
Received: 23 February 2015 / Revised: 26 March 2015 / Accepted: 16 April 2015 / Published: 21 April 2015
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Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

Title: A Multifaceted Investigation and Intervention into the Process of Flight Clearance for UAS Experimental Flight Test
Dr. Richard C. Millar, Associate Professor
Department of Systems Engineering, Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, California, USA
Unmanned aviation systems (UAS) for US Navy military roles are developed in the context of NAVAIR’s rigorous and well-established policies, procedures and processes employed in the acquisition and development of manned aircraft.  A key process is the preparation and approval of interim flight clearances (IFC) prior to flight test to ensure aircraft airworthiness and thus safe to operate.
With the emergence and proliferation of UAS applied to naval research and experimental projects conducted both within and beyond NAVAIR test ranges, it was decided that a NAVAIR IFC was required for UAS flight tests throughout the Navy.  This proved to be a challenge, impeding and discouraging the use of UAS in research and experimental projects. The research project reported here was initiated to investigate the causes of these challenges and recommend solutions.
The task was approached from the systems engineering perspective, focused on the IFC process and the disparate contexts in which it was being applied.  This perspective illuminated multiple impediments, means of addressing them, enabled a common understanding of the challenges and improved communication between the Navy organizations involved.  Notably, Bayesian belief networks were developed as a common tool to elicit, communicate and assess the parties concerns, imperatives, knowledge and understandings across organizational bounds.

Last update: 4 May 2015

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