Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Engineering (MSE)


Mechanical Engineering

First Committee Member

William Culbreth

Second Committee Member

Robert Boehm

Third Committee Member

Woosoon Yim

Fourth Committee Member

Sahjendra Singh

Number of Pages



Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) require intelligent control of their power source. Small UAV are typically powered by electric motors or small two-stroke internal combustion (IC) engines. Small IC engines allow for longer flight times but are more difficult to control and cause significant ground noise. A hybrid operation that uses the engine at high altitudes and the electric motors at low altitudes is desired. This would allow for extended flight with acceptable ground noise levels. Since the engine can not be restarted in the air it must be able to remain at idle for an extended time without stalling. A feedback controller is created for an OS160FX carbureted two-stroke engine. The controller implements a Proportional-Integral-Derivative (PID) algorithm to regulate the rotational speed of the engine shaft. The controller also monitors the temperature of the engine and is capable of monitoring the altitude of the aircraft. It is constructed with commercially available components and is based on an open-source micro-controller. The engine and the controller were ground tested to determine the engine's performance characteristics and the appropriate tuning parameters of the PID algorithm. The controller allows the engine to idle at 1800 rpm without stalling. The controller is able to quickly respond to changes in the commanded speed and settle on this speed within 10 seconds. The speed is regulated through the engine's full range of speeds. The performance of the controller was found to be negatively affected by sub-optimal carburetor fuel-valve settings.


Air speed; Control; Drone aircraft; Drone aircraft – Control systems; Electric motors; Engines; Feedback control systems; Internal combustion engines; Feedback; Speed; UAV


Acoustics, Dynamics, and Controls | Aerospace Engineering | Mechanical Engineering | Navigation, Guidance, Control and Dynamics

File Format


Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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