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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1860/385

Title: Reconfiguration and bifurcation in flight controls
Authors: Thomas, Suba
Keywords: Mechanical engineering;Aerospace engineering;Bifurcation theory;F-16 (Jet fighter plane)
Issue Date: 11-Jan-2005
Abstract: Numerous aviation accidents have been caused by stuck control surfaces. In most cases the impaired aircraft has sufficient redundancy to reconfigure the flight. However, the actions that the pilot needs to make could be counter intuitive, demanding and complicated. This is due to the drastic changes in the system's dynamics thatare caused by the nonlinearities, the loss of control authority and the disturbance imposed by the stuck surface. The reconfiguration of the flight laws will alleviate the work load on the crew and give them a better leeway to safely land the aircraft. The fault tolerant scheme that is adopted here is a multiple model one with a finite number of reconfigured controllers. Each reconfigured controller consists of a nonlinear output regulator and a constant gain nonlinear observer. The guidelines available for designing the nominal stabilizer are not appropriate for the reconfigured systems. The ability of the control law to reconfigure the aircraft is limited by saturation of the control surfaces, bifurcation points and stability limits. Identifying and characterizing these limitations is the first step in systematically improving the fault tolerant design. The computational results were obtained using a continuation method based on the Newton-Raphson and Newton-Raphson-Seydel methods. The numerous subtleties in employing these tools, when bifurcation points are clustered together, when many eigenvalues are near the origin or when the eigenvalues nearest the origin are complex, are addressed in this work. The reconfigured controller design for all possible single surface failures and the bifurcation analysis of the nominal and reconfigured systems was carried out on a real aircraft, namely the F-16. This was facilitated by the development of a unique, high fidelity, six degree of freedom, F-16 model.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1860/385
Appears in Collections:Drexel Theses and Dissertations

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