Microprocessor-based digital flight control system design for an R.P.V.

  • Simon Nevis Gittens

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisPhD


The development of a microprocessor based digital flight control system for a particular R.P.V. is described. The tasks required of this system are defined, and thereafter, the hardware circuits and the software structure necessary to implement a prototype are presented. The autopilot control laws are inferred from z-plane root loci, and then confirmed using digital simulations of the de-coupled roll and pitch attitude loops. The problems of the finite wordlength implementation of the control laws are discussed, and then both hybrid simulation and actual flight results are used to prove the performance of the prototype. To exploit the adaptive capabilities of a software based system, a sliding mode variable structure control law is developed for the roll attitude loop. Digital simulations are used to show that significant improvements in sensitivity reduction can be achieved under some conditions. These improvements are lost if a realistic servo-actuator model is employed. Another objective, namely the reduction of the disturbance error induced by trim imbalance, is maintained provided a reduced order switching function is used.
Date of Award1985
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Bath

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