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Proceedings Paper

The development of a closed-loop flight controller with panel method integration for gust alleviation using biomimetic feathers on aircraft wings
Author(s): Christopher J. Blower; Woody Lee; Adam M. Wickenheiser
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Paper Abstract

This paper presents the development of a biomimetic closed-loop flight controller that integrates gust alleviation and flight control into a single distributed system. Modern flight controllers predominantly rely on and respond to perturbations in the global states, resulting in rotation or displacement of the entire aircraft prior to the response. This bio-inspired gust alleviation system (GAS) employs active deflection of electromechanical feathers that react to changes in the airflow, i.e. the local states. The GAS design is a skeletal wing structure with a network of featherlike panels installed on the wing's surfaces, creating the airfoil profile and replacing the trailing-edge flaps. In this study, a dynamic model of the GAS-integrated wing is simulated to compute gust-induced disturbances. The system implements continuous adjustment to flap orientation to perform corrective responses to inbound gusts. MATLAB simulations, using a closed-loop LQR integrated with a 2D adaptive panel method, allow analysis of the morphing structure's aerodynamic data. Non-linear and linear dynamic models of the GAS are compared to a traditional single control surface baseline wing. The feedback loops synthesized rely on inertial changes in the global states; however, variations in number and location of feather actuation are compared. The bio-inspired system's distributed control effort allows the flight controller to interchange between the single and dual trailing edge flap profiles, thereby offering an improved efficiency to gust response in comparison to the traditional wing configuration. The introduction of aero-braking during continuous gusting flows offers a 25% reduction in x-velocity deviation; other flight parameters can be reduced in magnitude and deviation through control weighting optimization. Consequently, the GAS demonstrates enhancements to maneuverability and stability in turbulent intensive environments.

Paper Details

Date Published: 4 April 2012
PDF: 13 pages
Proc. SPIE 8339, Bioinspiration, Biomimetics, and Bioreplication 2012, 83390I (4 April 2012); doi: 10.1117/12.914646
Show Author Affiliations
Christopher J. Blower, The George Washington Univ. (United States)
Woody Lee, The George Washington Univ. (United States)
Adam M. Wickenheiser, The George Washington Univ. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 8339:
Bioinspiration, Biomimetics, and Bioreplication 2012
Akhlesh Lakhtakia, Editor(s)

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