A preview of the PDF is not available
Rotorcraft Flight Control Design with Alleviation of Unsteady Rotor Loads
Abstract and Figures
The objective of this research effort is to develop rotorcraft flight control laws that minimize unsteady rotor loads by acting solely through the primary flight controls (first harmonic swashplate control). As opposed to Higher-Harmonic Control, this strategy does not affect stationary (periodic trim) loads, and is therefore effective only in maneuvering flight. However, such system could be readily integrated with existing or future Automatic Flight Control Systems (AFCS). The study considers control designs for both conventional and compound configurations. Starting from a non-linear simulation model of the rotorcraft developed in FLIGHTLAB®, which includes sufficient fidelity to simulate rotor loads and vibrations, Linear Time-Periodic models (LTP) are derived via linearization. Next, the Harmonic Decomposition methodology is used to approximate the LTP systems with higher-order Linear Time-Invariant (LTI) systems. Reduced-order systems are subsequently obtained by using singular perturbation theory. By retaining the higher-harmonics of the rotor loads in the output, the reduced-order models are shown to accurately predicted the influence of the zeroth harmonics of the rigid-body and rotor flapping states on the higher-harmonics of the rotor loads. This way, previous limitations such as the reliance on non-physics-based models and curve fits to approximate rotor loads are lifted. Next, model following flight control laws are developed based on the reduced-order models. Parametric studies are performed to provide insights on how both the feed-forward and feedback paths of the model following control laws can be used to alleviate the rotor loads. Also, the impact of load alleviation on handling qualities is studied. It is shown that, for a standard helicopter configuration, load alleviation comes at the cost of a degradation in handling qualities. However, for the case of a compound rotorcraft, allocation of the control signal to the redundant control surfaces provides load alleviation without degradation in the handling qualities. The flight control laws are subsequently optimized using CONDUIT® to meet a comprehensive set of stability, handling qualities, and performance specifications for specific mission task elements while minimizing the unsteady rotor loads. Finally, since industry will not only rely on LTP systems obtained from simulation models, a novel methodology is developed to identify LTP systems from flight test data. The methodology is successfully applied to JUH-60A Black Hawk flight test data using CIFER®. The identified LTP systems capture the Nb/rev component of the rotorcraft dynamics. Further, it is shown how the higher-harmonics of the rotor states contribute to the overall rotorcraft dynamics for up to a 7%. On the other hand, the rigid-body states contribute to the overall rotorcraft dynamics almost entirely through their zeroth harmonic. Flight control design based on LTP systems identified from flight-test data could benefit the Future Vertical Lift (FVL) program. FVL is a plan to develop a new generation of military helicopters for the U.S. Army with increased capabilities in speed, range, and payload, and reduced maintenance and operational cost. Because these rotorcraft would operate at significantly higher speeds than the current helicopters, alleviation of the higher harmonic rotor loads and flight envelope protection are key elements to reduced maintenance cost. These rotorcraft are also likely to employ redundant control surfaces which, in connection with LTP-based flight control design, demonstrated outstanding effectiveness towards the alleviation of unsteady rotor loads.
Figures - uploaded by Umberto Saetti
All figure content in this area was uploaded by Umberto Saetti
Content may be subject to copyright.