Aerospace Control and Guidance Systems Committee


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MeetingACGS Committee Meeting 110 - Auburn, Maine - October 2012
6.1 Handling Qualities Optimization & Trade-offs for Business Jet Flight Control Design
TitleHandling Qualities Optimization & Trade-offs for Business Jet Flight Control Design
PresenterTom Berger
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AbstractHandling Qualities Optimizations and Trade-offs for Business Jet Flight Control Design

Presented by:
Tom Berger
US Army Aeroightdynamics Directorate (UARC)
Moffett Field, CA
Several comprehensive compendiums of flight control design experience and lessons learned emphasize the importance of meeting multi-tier handling qualities and flight control criteria for improved safety (e.g. RTO[1], Pratt[2]). The RTO report[1] mentions this approach as a best practice for flight control design and suggests that pilot induced oscillations (PIO) could be avoided in the design phase by exploiting handling qualities criteria to design for good handling qualities. It also suggests using supplementary criteria where necessary in addition to the military specifications. Many of these supplementary criteria, such as the bandwidth criteria[3] and the Gibson criteria[4], have been incorporated into the latest version of military specifcation MIL-STD-1797B[5]. More recently, Balas and Hodgkinson[6] also referred to different tiers of requirements, or alternate criteria, used to supplement the equivalent modal parameters.

These lessons were applied to longitudinal control laws widely used in industry, using a model of a small business jet in non-terminal flight phase. The control laws used in this analysis are similar to the ones presented by Gangsaas, et al[7]. Furthermore, the linear-quadratic regulator (LQR) design method using target zeros employed by Gangsaas, et al[7], was utilized in a preliminary design phase to initialize control law gain values. The gains were then directly optimized to satisfy the handling qualities and flight control requirements using a multi-objective parametric optimization algorithm. This two step process eliminated manual tuning of the LQR performance parameters and produced excellent initial conditions for the optimization, which resulted in the ability to optimize an entire gain schedule in a matter of hours with no manual tuning.

The presentation will describe the aircraft for which this control system is designed and give a description of the control laws is given. The handling qualities specifications used to drive the optimization will be described, as will the optimization strategy, including a detailed description of how LQR is used to initialize the gain values. Finally, the results are presented, first for one flight condition, and then for the entire gain schedule, followed by conclusions.

[1] Anon., "Flight Control Design - Best Practices," NATO RTO-TR-029, December 2000.
[2] Pratt, R. W., "Flight Control Systems," AIAA Progress in Astronautics and Aeronautics, Vol. 184, 2000.
[3] Mitchell, D. G., Hoh, R. H., L., A. B., and H., K. D., "Proposed Incorporation of Mission-Oriented Flying Qualities into MIL STD-1797A," Report No. WL-TR-94-3162. Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio: Wright Laboratory, October 1994.
[4] Gibson, J. C., "Development of a Design Methodology for Handling Qualities Excellence in Fly by Wire Aircraft," Delft University Press, February 1999.
[5] Anon., "Flying Qualities of Piloted Aircraft," MIL-STD-1797B, Department of Defense Interface Standard, February 2006.
[6] Balas, G. G. and Hodgkinson, J., "Control Design Methods for Good Flying Qualities," presented at the AIAA Atmospheric Flight Mechanics Conference, Chicago, IL, August 2009.
[7] Gangsaas, D., Hodgkinson, J., Harden, C., Saeed, N., and Chen, K., "Multidisciplinary Control Law Design and Flight Test Demonstration on a Business Jet," presented at the AIAA Guidance, Navigation, and Control Conference and Exhibit, Honolulu, HI, August 2008.

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