Robust Gust Alleviation and Stabilization of Very Flexible Aircraft

R. Cook, R. Palacios-Nieto and P. J. Goulart

AIAA Journal, vol. 51, no. 2, pp. 330-340, February 2013.
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  author = {R. Cook and R. Palacios-Nieto and P. J. Goulart},
  title = {Robust Gust Alleviation and Stabilization of Very Flexible Aircraft},
  journal = {AIAA Journal},
  year = {2013},
  volume = {51},
  number = {2},
  pages = {330-340},
  url = {},
  doi = {10.2514/1.J051697}

Robust linear control, combined with model-reduction methodologies, is investigated for gust rejection on large, very flexible aircraft using trailing-edge control surfaces. Controllers are designed on linearizations of the nonlinear aeroelastic equations, and the closed-loop response of both the linearized and nonlinear system to discrete gust distributions is compared to the open-loop dynamics. Results show that an H-infinity controller performs well on a relatively large linearized system, with 9% load alleviation in root bending moments for the critical gust length. When applied to the nonlinear model of the same vehicle, the robust controller gives a good performance in response to short gusts, including the critical length, with even better load reductions than the linear case. However, this performance gap decreases as the gust length is increased. It is also shown how standard model-reduction techniques can provide metrics for the selection of a minimum size of the aeroelastic system. Finally, it is shown that both the full and reduced controllers are capable of stabilizing a large-amplitude phugoid mode on the nonlinear model of the vehicle.