Nonlinear Control Development for Maneuver and Gust Load Alleviation in Very Flexible Aircraft

Researcher: Mateus de Freitas Virgilio Pereira

Sponsor: Airbus

Commercial aircraft designs are gradually evolving to lightweight, high-aspect ratio, and flexible solutions in order to improve the aerodynamic performance and to meet the increasingly demanding flight mission specifications, such as reduced fuel consumption, heavier payload, and greater range and endurance. The high-aspect ratio configuration goes against the intent of designing robust and strong structures with respect to forces induced by flight maneuvers, wind gusts, and turbulence. The long span and flexible structures usually result in an intensification of the torsion and bending moment loads on the wing, which can ultimately lead to failure. One way to cope with this problem is to design maneuver (MLA) and gust (GLA) load alleviation systems, which reduce the load impact on the structure by actively deflecting the control surfaces. This work focuses on the development of automatic flight control systems with MLA/GLA capabilities. The topics of research include:

  • Model based design for control of flexible and very flexible aircraft, considering command requirements, input and state constraints.
  • Development of a systematic framework for designing MLA/GLA and shape control systems for flexible and very flexible aircraft
  • Understanding how the controller design changes with flexibility.

This project is one of the key research areas of the Airbus-University of Michigan Center for Aero-Servo-Elasticity for Very Flexible Aircraft.