Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis - SCU Access Only


Santa Clara: Santa Clara University, 2015.


Mechanical Engineering

First Advisor

Christopher Kitts


There is ineffective distribution of medical supplies in rural Africa. This has a significant negative effect on the health of the overall population and leads to wasted medicine. There is a need for a more flexible and effective distribution system. The SkyPort vehicle concept seeks to address this need with a hybrid plane and quadcopter unmanned aerial vehicle. Once operational, the vehicle will autonomously take‐off, transition from vertical to horizontal motion, navigate a long range flight, arrive at the destination, descend and release the medical payload, after and return to its launch site. The work for this year was divided among three teams, which were responsible for airframe design, payload design, and control system design respectively. To work toward this year’s goals, the Controls team designed an electronic system to provide propulsion, control, automation, and sensing for the SkyPort vehicle. The team focused its efforts on designing the control system for the full vehicle mission, and performed testing on the vertical take‐off and drop‐off sequences of the mission. The team was able to stabilize the vehicle in quadcopter flight mode and to perform a fully autonomous landing and take‐off sequence. Future work will encompass a full demonstration mission, including long range travel in plane flight mode.