The Stability and Control of an Aircraft with an Adaptive Wing

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Title: The Stability and Control of an Aircraft with an Adaptive Wing
Author: Vosburg, Victor Jay
Advisors: Dr. Arkady Kheyfets, Committee Member
Dr. Ashok Gopalarathnam, Committee Chair
Dr. Charles E. Hall, Jr., Committee Member
Abstract: With increasing interest in the use of adaptive lifting surfaces for improved aircraft performance, it is necessary to study the stability and control characteristics of an aircraft with an adaptive wing. This research builds on recent development of an automated cruise flap for adapting a wing shape to achieve low drag over a large lift range. Such an automated cruise flap system was shown to have unusual lift and pitching moment curves, which prompted the need for studying the effect on aircraft stability and control. In this thesis, the static stability considerations are used to show that when an automated cruise flap is used on an airfoil to continuously adjust the flap to the optimum angle, there is a need for an accompanying controller that achieves the desired lift coefficient by adjusting the airfoil angle of attack. Likewise, when an automated flap is used on an aircraft wing, there is a need for an accompanying airspeed controller to adjust the elevator. The thesis presents Simulink models for analyzing the dynamic behavior of an aircraft with an automated flap. Two schemes were studied for the flap and elevator controllers. The most desirable results were obtained when the flap and elevator controllers were coupled so that trim changes due to the flap are immediately compensated by adjustment of the elevator angle. The results of the simulation show that the aircraft does not exhibit any undesirable behavior with the automated cruise flap. The study, therefore, provides the confidence needed to implement the system on an uninhabited aerial vehicle.
Date: 2005-02-02
Degree: MS
Discipline: Aerospace Engineering

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