AIAA Guidance, Navigation, and Control Conference, Toronto, Canada, 2 - 05 August 2010
Loss of flight control authority in result of a system damage or an actuator jam is known or suspected to be the potential cause of many aviation accidents. After losing one or several control surface actuators, sustaining the flight for a safe return home depends on the capability of the remaining surfaces' control authority and the engine power. In this study, automatic recovery and autonomous guidance of a disabled general aviation aircraft is demonstrated. A nonlinear aircraft model and a MATLAB/SIMULINK based flight dynamics and control toolboxes are used to develop flight control laws for the disabled aircraft. The flight control laws are first validated for steady trimmed flight conditions and an actuator jam is applied to demonstrate the automatic recovery and autonomous navigation of the aircraft. The autopilot is designed to handle different control actuator malfunctions including rudder or aileron jams. Different scenario based simulations show that the new autopilot design is capable of sustaining safe flight and autonomous navigation under such malfunctions. Copyright © 2010 by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Inc. All rights reserved.