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Flight dynamics and control
Flight control laws (FCLs) form the core of the aircraft electronic flight control system (EFCS) software. So-called “primary flight control laws” provide all functions to control the aircraft flight dynamics, either manually or automatically. Secondary control laws provide add-on functionality such as active damping of airframe structural dynamics, and active reduction of loads on the airframe during manoeuvring or turbulence and gusts. With aircraft performance being pushed more and more towards its physical limits, there is a growing need for an integrated design approach. We develop modelling and design tools that are able to cope with the resulting increasing complexity of the FCL design task.
Aircraft Trajectory Optimisation
The aircraft trajectory optimisation technologies under development aim at the reduction of emissions and noise in the way the aircraft manages its trajectory either on ground or in flight.
Wake Vortex Scenario Analysis
In the context of recent development of large civil aircraft, wake vortex (WV) research was once again of interest, after current safety rules were introduced during Boeing 747 development in the 1960s-1970s. Simulation and analysis of wake vortex scenarios near airports is a multi-disciplinary task where our design and analysis environment MOPS can serve as an integrating platform…
Active Loads Control
In the field of flight control law design, considerable emphasis has been on active loads alleviation systems. These systems have the potential of considerable structural weight reduction by reducing aerodynamic peak and fatigue loads on the airframe. The institute’s expertise in control law design led to the participation in several national and international projects where our technologies could be demonstrated successfully.
The flight control laws design process
We propose and apply a structured design process for flight control laws. This process is based on object-oriented modelling technology, advanced and/or classical controller synthesis methods, multi-objective parameter synthesis, and efficient analysis methods for performance and robustness assessment. The process supports handling of complex controller structures, addressing of the full envelope of aircraft loading and operating conditions, handling of large amounts of multi-disciplinary design criteria, and handling of various types of uncertainty and parameter variation.
Primary flight control laws design
We apply our design process and tools to develop manual and automatic control laws, both for civil transport as well as highly manoeuvrable military aircraft. Recent examples are manual control laws for the thrust-vectored X-31A aircraft, and automatic landing control laws for DLR’s experimental aircraft ATTAS.
Secondary flight control laws design
Over the past years a close and successful cooperation with Airbus Germany has been established for development of control laws for active loads alleviation and comfort improvement. Our expertise in design process technology, multi-objective optimisation, and multi-disciplinary model integration has been an important contributing factor in this cooperation. In the frame of the EU-funded project AWIATOR we develop gust estimation and gust load alleviation systems.
Multi-disciplinary aircraft modelling and simulation
Flight control law design requires the availability of accurate aircraft dynamics models that allow all types of numerical criteria of interest to be evaluated. To this end, we develop models by integration of agreed-on model components and data from all involved engineering disciplines (e.g. flight mechanics, aeroelastics, actuation systems). We have developed a flight-dynamics library based on the multi-physics modelling language Modelica. Besides control design, the models may be used in real time simulation, for example in our interactive desktop simulation tools.
Dr.ir. Gertjan Looye
German Aerospace Center
Institute of System Dynamics and Control
Aircraft Systems Dynamics
Tel.: +49 8153 28-1068
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