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Chapter 11

Automatic Flight Control


11.1 Simple Feedback Systems
11.1.1 First-Order Systems
x x u
a
b
_
+
+
Figure 11.1: First-order system
The simple rst-order system shown in gure 11.1 is represented by the
dynamic equation of motion,
x = ax(t) + bu(t) (11.1)
The single eigenvalue of this system (with subscript OL to represent
Open Loop) is

OL
= a
The block diagram is simpler in transfer function form. The forced re-
sponse becomes
231
232 CHAPTER 11. AUTOMATIC FLIGHT CONTROL
x(s) =
b
s a
u(s) (11.2)
The block diagram for the transfer function representation of this system
is shown in gure 11.2.
b
sa
u(s) x(s)
Figure 11.2: Transfer function representation, rst-order system
Now consider a feedback scheme in which the state x(t) is measured, the
measured value amplied by a factor k, and used to modify the input. The
input u(t) is now the sum of kx(t) and a new signal r(t), or in terms of the
complex variable s, u(s) = kx(s) + r(s) as shown in gure 11.3.
x(s) u(s)
b
sa
r(s) +
+
k
Figure 11.3: Closed-loop system
The equation of motion of the closed-loop (CL) system becomes
x = ax(t) + b [kx(t) + r(t)] = (a + bk) x(t) + br(t) (11.3)
The closed-loop eigenvalue is then

CL
= a + bk (11.4)
In other words, by proper choice of k, the system eigenvalue may be
assigned arbitrarily.
The same result can be arrived at using the transfer function. We have
11.1. SIMPLE FEEDBACK SYSTEMS 233
x(s) =
b
s a
u(s) =
b
s a
[kx(s) + r(s)] (11.5a)
_
1
bk
s a
_
x(s) =
b
s a
r(s) (11.5b)
s a bk
s a
x(s) =
b
s a
r(s) (11.5c)
x(s) =
b
s (a + bk)
r(s) (11.5d)
11.1.2 Second-Order Systems
Open-loop Eigenvalues
A simple mass-spring-damper system (gure 11.4) is used to illustrate closed-
loop control of second-order systems.
x
2
x
1
x
2
u
a
21
a
22
b
_ _
+
+ +
Figure 11.4: Second-order system
Here, x
1
is the position and x
2
is the velocity, with x
1
= x
2
. The system
is represented generically by:
x
1
= x
2
(t)
x
2
= a
21
x
1
(t) + a
22
x
2
(t) + bu(t)
(11.6)
The parameter a
21
is related to the spring in the system (proportional
to displacement x
1
), and the parameter a
22
to the damping (proportional to
velocity x
2
).
234 CHAPTER 11. AUTOMATIC FLIGHT CONTROL
We assume the system has complex eigenvalues,
OL
= j, so that
the response is oscillatory. The characteristic equation of this system is easily
veried to be s
2
a
22
s a
21
= 0. We may relate the parameters a
21
and a
22
to the system natural frequency
n
and damping ratio as follows:
s
2
a
22
s a
21
= s
2
+ 2
n
s +
2
n
= 0 (11.7a)

n
=

a
21
(11.7b)
=
a
22
2

a
21
(11.7c)
Using a little algebra, the real and imaginary parts of the system eigen-
values, and , are related to the natural frequency, damping ratio, and
system parameters:

OL
= j =
n
j
n
_
1
2
(11.8a)
=
n
=
a
22
2
(11.8b)
=
n
_
1
2
=
1
2
_
a
2
22
4a
21
(11.8c)
In terms of the transfer functions, the state transition matrix is
[sI A]
1
B =
_
s 1
a
21
s a
22
_
1
_
0
b
_
=
1
s
2
a
22
s a
21
_
s a
22
1
a
21
s
__
0
b
_
=
1
s
2
a
22
s a
21
_
b
bs
_
The transfer functions are therefore
x
1
(s)
u(s)
=
b
s
2
a
22
s a
21
(11.9a)
x
2
(s)
u(s)
=
bs
s
2
a
22
s a
21
(11.9b)
11.1. SIMPLE FEEDBACK SYSTEMS 235
To construct a block diagram of this system, we can go from u(s) to x
2
(s),
then from x
2
(s) to x
1
(s). Since x
1
= x
2
, a direct LaPlace transform shows
that x
1
(s) = x
2
(s)/s. Alternatively we may manipulate equations 11.9 to
get the same result:
x
1
(s)
x
2
(s)
=
x
1
(s)
u(s)
u(s)
x
2
(s)
=
1
s
(11.10)
The block diagram in the LaPlace diagram then becomes as shown in
gure 11.5.
x
1
(s) x
2
(s) u(s)
bs
s
2
a
22
sa
21
1
s
Figure 11.5: Transfer function representation, second-order system
A pole-zero map of the transfer function x
1
(s)/u(s) is shown in gure
11.6.
Real
Imaginary

cos
1

Figure 11.6: Pole-zero map, x


1
(s)/u(s)
236 CHAPTER 11. AUTOMATIC FLIGHT CONTROL
Position Feedback
Now consider feedback of the position variable, u(t) = k
1
x
1
(t) + r(t). This
feedback does not aect the kinematic equation x
1
= x
2
, but changes the
acceleration x
2
as follows:
x
2
= a
21
x
1
(t) + a
22
x
2
(t) + b [k
1
x
1
(t) + r(t)]
= (bk
1
+ a
21
) x
1
(t) + a
22
x
2
(t) + br(t)
Position feedback therefore aects only the spring parameter. The char-
acteristic polynomial becomes s
2
a
22
s (a
21
+ bk
1
).
In the LaPlace domain, whe have u(s) = k
1
x
1
(s) + r(s), with the block
diagram shown in gure 11.9.
x
1
(s) x
2
(s) r(s) u(s)
bs
s
2
a
22
sa
21
1
s
+
+
k
1
Figure 11.7: Block diagram, position feedback
The closed-loop transfer function is easily determined,
x
1
(s) =
b
s
2
a
22
s a
21
u(s)
=
b
s
2
a
22
s a
21
[k
1
x
1
(s) + r(s)]
Simplifying,
x
1
(s)
r(s)
=
b
s
2
a
22
s (bk
1
+ a
21
)
(11.11)
Since = a
22
/2, just as it was in the open-loop system, position feedback
does not change the damping term (real part of the eigenvalue) of the mass-
spring-damper system. Therefore, as k
1
is varied, the roots (eigenvalues) will
move vertically in the complex plane, as shown in gure 11.8.
11.1. SIMPLE FEEDBACK SYSTEMS 237
Real
Imaginary

Constant

Figure 11.8: Eect of position feedback


Rate Feedback
With rate feedback we have u(t) = k
2
x
2
(t) + r(t). The acceleration x
2
then
becomes:
x
2
= a
21
x
1
(t) + a
22
x
2
(t) + b [k
2
x
2
(t) + r(t)]
= a
21
x
1
(t) + (bk
2
+ a
22
) x
2
(t) + br(t)
Rate feedback therefore aects only the damping parameter. The char-
acteristic polynomial becomes s
2
(bk
1
+ a
21
) s a
21
. The block diagram of
this system is shown in gure 11.9.
x
1
(s)
r(s)
=
b
s
2
(bk
2
+ a
22
) s a
21
(11.12)
x
1
(s) x
2
(s) r(s) u(s)
bs
s
2
a
22
sa
21
1
s
+
+
k
2
Figure 11.9: Block diagram, rate feedback
238 CHAPTER 11. AUTOMATIC FLIGHT CONTROL
Real

n
Constant
n

...............................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................
Figure 11.10: Eect of rate feedback
The unchanged term now is
n
=

a
21
. Therefore, as k
2
is varied, the
roots will move in a circular arc about the origin, as shown in gure 11.10.
By combining position and rate feedback, as shown in gure 11.11, the
transfer function becomes
x
1
(s)
r(s)
=
b
s
2
(bk
2
+ a
22
) s (bk
1
+ a
21
)
(11.13)
x
1
(s) x
2
(s) r(s) u(s)
bs
s
2
a
22
sa
21
1
s
+
+ +
k
2
k
1
Figure 11.11: Block diagram, position and rate feedback
Thus, the eigenvalues of the mass-spring-damper system may be placed
in any arbitrary position.
11.1. SIMPLE FEEDBACK SYSTEMS 239
x(s) u(s) r(s)
G(s)
+
+
K(s)
Figure 11.12: Generic multi-inputmulti-output system
11.1.3 A General Representation
A somewhat more general representation of the mass-spring-damper system
is shown in gure 11.12. In the gure, x(s), u(s), and r(s) are vectors, and
G(s) and K(s) are matrices. With reference to gure 11.12,
u(s) = Kx(s) +r(s) (11.14a)
x(s) = GKx(s) + Gr(s) (11.14b)
x(s) = [I GK(s)]
1
Gr(s) (11.15)
The following assignments relate gure 11.12 to the mass-spring-damper
system:
x(s) =
_
x
1
x
2
_
(11.16a)
u(s) = {u} (11.16b)
r(s) = {r} (11.16c)
G(s) =
_
b
s
2
a
22
sa
21
bs
s
2
a
22
sa
21
_
(11.16d)
K(s) =
_
k
1
k
2
_
(11.16e)
With these assignments, we have
240 CHAPTER 11. AUTOMATIC FLIGHT CONTROL
x(s) =
_
b
s
2
(bk
2
+a
22
)s(bk
1
+a
21
)
bs
s
2
(bk
2
+a
22
)s(bk
1
+a
21
)
_
r(s) (11.17)
11.2 Aircraft Control Applications
11.2.1 Roll Mode
The roll mode of an aircraft is approximated by
I
xx
p = L
p
p + L

In which
L
p
< 0, L

< 0
With substitutions
x = p, u =

, a = L
p
/I
xx
, b = L

/I
xx
x = ax + bu
The transfer function from u to x is
x(s)
u(s)
=
b
s a
The roll mode time constant is

r
=
1
a
=
I
xx
L
p
Consider the unaugmented aircraft with xed gearing G between the lat-
eral stick input
s

and ailerons

. Assume for this example that the limits


of stick and aileron are 1 and that the gearing is 1:1:
11.2. AIRCRAFT CONTROL APPLICATIONS 241
1
s

1, 1

1, G = 1
So that the unaugmented aircraft control law is:

=
s

, 1
s

1
For a step lateral stick input at t = 0 of magnitude 1 (for positive roll
response),

(t) = 1, t 0

(s) = 1/s
The steady-state roll rate is
p
ss
=
b
a
=
L

L
p
Now examine roll-rate feedback to improve (decrease)
r
:

= K
p
p +
s

u = K
p
x + r
The closed-loop transfer functions from r to x is
x(s)
r(s)
=
b
s (a bK
p
)
The augmented roll-mode time constant
raug
is

raug
=
1
a bK
p
=
I
xx
L
p
K
p
L

Since we desire
raug
<
r
,
0 1 2 3 4 5
0
0.2
0.4
0.6
0.8
1
Unaugmented
Augmented
242 CHAPTER 11. AUTOMATIC FLIGHT CONTROL
|L
p
K
p
L

| > |L
p
|
so that K
p
< 0 (the transfer function is negative).
For the same step lateral stick input at t = 0 of magnitude 1 the steady-
state roll rate (augmented) p
ssaug
is
p
ssaug
=
b
(a bK
p
)
=
L

L
p
K
p
L

<
L

L
p
= p
ss
To generate representative time-histories let I
xx
= 1, L
p
= L

= 1.
Then
x(t) = 1 e
t
(unaugmented)
x(t) =
1
1 K
p
_
1 e
t(1Kp)
_
(augmented)
With K
p
= 1 we have the time histories in gure 11.13. The augmented
response reaches steady state more quickly, but this decreased time constant
is made possible only by reducing the steady state.
Figure 11.13: Time-histories, unaugmented and augmented
11.2. AIRCRAFT CONTROL APPLICATIONS 243
11.2.2 Short-Period
The short-period approximation is based on the consideration of just the
states and q, and the pitching moment control
e
(the elevator):
x
SP
=
_

q
_
In terms of the dimensional derivatives, neglecting dependency, and
ignoring changes in lift due to elevator deection (eectively Z
m
= 0) the
system matrices are:

A
SP
=
_
Zw
m
Zq+mV
Ref
mV
Ref
MwV
Ref
Iyy
Mq
Iyy
_

B
SP
=
_
0
M
m
Iyy
_
The terms in

A
SP
or

B
SP
are denoted generically as

A
SP
=
_
a
11
a
12
a
21
a
22
_

B
SP
=
_
0
b
_
The state transition matrix is easily evaluated,
_
sI

A
SP
_
1
=
_
s a
22
a
12
a
21
s a
11
_
s
2
(a
11
+ a
22
) s + (a
11
a
22
a
12
a
21
)
The open-loop matrix of transfer functions is therefore:
G(s) =
_
(s)/
e
(s)
q(s)/
e
(s)
_
=
_
ba
12
bs ba
11
_
s
2
(a
11
+ a
22
) s + (a
11
a
22
a
12
a
21
)
244 CHAPTER 11. AUTOMATIC FLIGHT CONTROL
To see how the short-period mode relates to a mass-spring-damper sys-
tem, we apply u(t) = Kx(t) +r(t), from which we showed
x(s) = [I GK(s)]
1
Gr(s)
Let K =
_
k
1
k
2
_
. Then
G(s) =
_
ba
12
bs ba
11
_
d(s)
where
d(s) = s
2
(a
11
+ a
22
k
2
b) s + (a
11
a
22
a
12
a
21
k
1
ba
12
+ k
2
ba
11
)
If k
1
= 0 and k
2
= 0 ( feedback only) the closed-loop characteristic
polynomial becomes
d(s) = s
2
(a
11
+ a
22
) s + (a
11
a
22
a
12
a
21
k
1
ba
12
)
In this case is left unchanged, as it was for position feedback in the
mass-spring-damper.
However, if k
2
= 0 and k
1
= 0 (pitch rate feedback only) the closed-loop
characteristic polynomial becomes
d(s) = s
2
(a
11
+ a
22
k
2
b) s + (a
11
a
22
a
12
a
21
+ k
2
ba
11
)
Now both and
n
are aected, which is not the same as rate-feedback
for the mass-spring-damper. However, using representative values for the
A-4 Skyhawk, we have
d(s) = s
2
+ (2.0 12.8k
2
) s + (10.8 + 11.2k
2
)
As k
2
is varied from k
2
= 0 to approximately k
2
= 0.28, the roots of the
characteristic polynomial move as shown in gure 11.14. While the natural
frequency clearly decreases, it is clear that the dominant eect of pitch-rate
feedback is to change the damping ratio, .
11.2. AIRCRAFT CONTROL APPLICATIONS 245
Real
0 -0.5 -1.0 -1.5 -2.0 -2.5 -3.0 -3.5
I
m
a
g
i
n
a
r
y
0
0.5
1.0
1.5
2.0
2.5
3.0
3.5 3.5
...........................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................
k
2
= 0
k
2
= 0.15

k
2
= 0.277

Figure 11.14: Locus of roots for pitch-rate feedback