Traditional lighter-than-air-vehicles (LTAV), i.e., airships, are propelled by propellers. In this paper, an indoor LTAV “flying octopus” with four flapping wings is designed and built. The flying octopus has three parts: the balloon, midsection, and the wings. The balloon is filled with helium. Its buoyance is used to balance the major part of the flying octopus’s gravity. The midsection connects the balloon and the wings, and also holds the actuators, control board and power system. Four flapping wings are identical and each wing is composed of a continuous backbone, a membrane, a pair of wires and a number of eyelets. The flapping motion is achieved by the novel wire-driven mechanism. A prototype with a total mass of 1592g is built. The motion of the flying octopus is controlled by the four wings. Indoor experiment results show that, with the four flapping wings, the flying octopus can go in all directions, i.e., forward, backward, leftward, rightward, upward, and downward effectively.

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