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Evolutionary design of a full-envelope full-authority flight control system for an unstable high-performance aircraft

Avanzini, Giulio and Minisci, Edmondo (2011) Evolutionary design of a full-envelope full-authority flight control system for an unstable high-performance aircraft. Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part G: Journal of Aerospace Engineering, 225 (10). pp. 1065-1080. ISSN 0954-4100

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The use of an evolutionary algorithm in the framework of H1 control theory is being considered as a means for synthesizing controller gains that minimize a weighted combination of the infinite norm of the sensitivity function (for disturbance attenuation requirements) and complementary sensitivity function (for robust stability requirements) at the same time. The case study deals with a complete full-authority longitudinal control system for an unstable high-performance jet aircraft featuring (i) a stability and control augmentation system and (ii) autopilot functions (speed and altitude hold). Constraints on closed-loop response are enforced, that representing typical requirements on airplane handling qualities, that makes the control law synthesis process more demanding. Gain scheduling is required, in order to obtain satisfactory performance over the whole flight envelope, so that the synthesis is performed at different reference trim conditions, for several values of the dynamic pressure, used as the scheduling parameter. Nonetheless, the dynamic behaviour of the aircraft may exhibit significant variations when flying at different altitudes, even for the same value of the dynamic pressure, so that a trade-off is required between different feasible controllers synthesized at different altitudes for a given equivalent airspeed. A multiobjective search is thus considered for the determination of the best suited solution to be introduced in the scheduling of the control law. The obtained results are then tested on a longitudinal non-linear model of the aircraft.