A variable sweep wing UAV is developed utilising off the shelf components with a custom mechanism for the wing box. The movement of the wing sweep in flight enables large pitching moments suitable for performing perching manoeuvres. Wind tunnel data is presented that confirms the favourable characteristics expected from sweeping the wing and achieving high pitch rates. Whilst only small sweep changes are required during flight, the design allows up to 30∘ forward sweep for significant pitching moments during the flare. A new collection of controllers is developed based on observations from similar landing techniques performed by birds and hang-gliders onto flat ground. The three-stage landing process takes the aircraft along an approach path, through a roundout procedure during which airspeed decays and concludes with rapid pitch up. Flight test results are presented during which it is found that the airspeed can be reduced to, on average, under 3 m/s in the final moments before landing – well below the stall speed of 9 m/s.