Dossier DelFly

What is the DelFly?

The DelFly is what is known as a Micro Air Vehicle (MAV), an extremely small, remote-controlled aircraft with an on-board camera that transmits images through a transmitter to a ground station. With its two pairs of flapping wings, the DelFly resembles a dragonfly. Some larger variants of the DelFly can hover in the air like a hummingbird, and even slowly fly backwards.


Spin off student project

This air vehicle was the result of a student project at TU Delft in 2005 (DelFly I). July 2008 saw the presentation of the third generation, the DelFly Micro, which weighs barely 3 grams and measures only 10 cm from wingtip to wingtip. This makes the DelFly Micro the smallest camera-equipped flapping MAV in the world.

Why the DelFly?

Ultra-small remote-controlled camera-equipped air vehicles (MAVs) such as the DelFly can be of interest to many parties. One possible future use, for example, is for observation flights over inaccessible terrain. Think, for example, of radioactive contaminated areas or where there is a danger of collapse.

Ministry of Defence

The importance of this type of development is also evident from the millions in funding that the American Ministry of Defence has promised for a properly functioning MAV that is smaller than 7.5 cm from wingtip to wingtip. In the Netherlands, TNO has collaborated on the development of the DelFly II (2006).

Scientific knowledge

The main reason for continuing the development of the DelFly is the scientific knowledge that is being acquired through measurements on such air vehicles (ornithopters) and the airflow around them.


Naam auteur: Team WTC
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